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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Photo: Pete Marovich/Getty Images

The Government Accountability Office determined that the Environmental Protection Agency violated the federal spending laws when the agency installed a $43,000 private phone booth in EPA chief Scott Pruitt's office without notifying Congress, reports ABC News.

Why it matters: Axios' Ben Geman says this is yet another negative headline for Pruitt at a time when he's facing multiple inquiries from lawmakers, the White House and the EPA's inspector general over his travel, security expenses, living arrangements and more. President Trump has signaled his support for Pruitt amid the ethics controversies, but the White House has also said that it’s still reviewing the matters.

But, but, but: Another report out today has some better news for Pruitt. The EPA's inspector general said documents show that Pruitt's chief of staff authorized significant raises for top EPA aides over objections from the White House, per Bloomberg. That backs up Pruitt's assertion that he neither knew about the raises nor their scope.

  • Flashback: Pruitt's denial earlier this month: “I found out this yesterday and I corrected the action and we are in the process of finding out how it took place and correcting it."

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."

Cedric Richmond: We won't wait on GOP for "insufficient" stimulus

Top Biden adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" the White House believes it has bipartisan support for a stimulus bill outside the Beltway.

  • "If our choice is to wait and go bipartisan with an insufficient package, we are not going to do that."

The big picture: The bill will likely undergo an overhaul in the Senate after House Democrats narrowly passed a stimulus bill this weekend, reports Axios' Kadia Goba.

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