WASHINGTON, DC. -- Action News has uncovered new dirt in a case of government waste involving a pricey powder room.
We're talking about the $220,000 personal bathroom in the private office of the US Secretary of the Interior. It's a bathroom built with a $700 faucet, and $26,000 cabinets.
Lots of executives have private bathrooms. They're typically small with ordinary fixtures. But Action News Scott MacFarlane discovered jaw-dropping trinkets in the executive suite of the bathroom for the Interior Secretary. They include $1500 wall panels, a full-size sub zero refrigerator at a cost of $3,500, and a vintage tissue holder costing $65.
They're all in a new bath of documents released exclusively to Action News by the government. The upgrades were requested by then Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. The documents show Kempthorne personally ordered the renovations as a "remembrance item for future secretaries."
"For the secretary to spend this much time thinking about the remodeling of a bathroom is ludicrous," said David Williams with the Taxpayers Protection Alliance. "He should be ashamed of himself."
The internal audit we obtained indicates the sub-zero refrigerator was purchased because some of the budgeted money hadn't been spent. One witness said, "there was a need for additional cost."
The audit also shows a string 75-percent of U.S. cabinet secretaries have private bathrooms with full showers, despite the nation's budget crunch. It also shows the Interior Department was recently considering another lofty project: new skylights for its gym at its DC headquarters.
Kempthorne has been unreachable for comment. The bathroom has not been upgraded or remodeled in recent years, according to the Interior Department. The next secretary who'll likely start in the coming weeks will get to use it.