Rick Perry lets Congress know GAO’s new definition of office ‘furnishings’ is absurd, reviews Obama’s list


DCNFMichael Bastasch, DCNF

Energy Secretary Rick Perry notified Congress he spent just under $10,000 to refurbish his and his deputy’s office, according to letters sent to lawmakers Friday evening, which by The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained.

Source: onpolitics.usatoday.com

Perry spent $4,652 reupholstering furniture and painting his office, while Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette spent $4,993 doing much of the same to his office. Perry sent the letters to Congress out of an abundance of caution.

The Environmental Protection Agency violated federal law by building a $43,000 secure phone booth, or SCIF, and not notifying Congress, The Government Accountability Office (GAO) ruled on April 16. Effectively, GAO redefined a SCIF as office furnishings and improvements, expanding its previous interpretation of federal laws.

“In the interest of transparency, this letter serves to inform you of the recent renovations and the Department’s concerns related to the GAO’s opinion,” Perry wrote to Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican and chair of the subcommittee overseeing Energy Department funding.

GAO “expanded the scope of this provision to apply to virtually any expense associated with a Presidential appointee’s office space,” to include even SCIFs — not exactly office furniture, Perry said. Before April, federal officials didn’t consider spending on, say, security requirements, like SCIFs, to require congressional notification.

A separate letter was sent to Alexander’s House counterpart, Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson. Federal laws require executive agencies to notify Congress of office expenditures of more than $5,000.

Perry’s letter also detailed nearly $3.3 million in renovations to the Forrestal building, the department’s D.C. headquarters. Perry did not previously report these expenditures to Congress because they did not meet the definition of office furnishings under federal law — that is, until GAO issued its ruling.

“This opinion on Section 710 has created ambiguity and uncertainty on what does and does not need to be reported when updating our building in the future,” the Energy Department said in an accompanying statement.

Included were renovations to staff offices, a new reception area and a conference room. The sheer cost of renovating the Energy Department headquarters illustrates the high cost of maintaining older federal buildings in Washington, D.C.

However expensive Energy Department renovations under Perry may seem, Obama’s administration spent much more in the eight years it controlled the executive branch. Perry gave a short list of examples of Obama Energy Department projects.

A sampling of Obama administration Energy Department renovations to the Forrestal building comes out to more than $10.3 million.

Follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter

For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].


Please help us! If you are fed up with letting radical big tech execs, phony fact-checkers, tyrannical liberals and a lying mainstream media have unprecedented power over your news please consider making a donation to BPR to help us fight them. Now is the time. Truth has never been more critical!

Success! Thank you for donating. Please share BPR content to help combat the lies.


We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please click the ∨ icon below and to the right of that comment. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.

PLEASE JOIN OUR NEW COMMENT SYSTEM! We love hearing from our readers and invite you to join us for feedback and great conversation. If you've commented with us before, we'll need you to re-input your email address for this. The public will not see it and we do not share it.

Latest Articles