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$3,500 Refrigerator, $689 Faucet...in the Interior Secretary's Personal Bathroom -- and Audit Finds You Paid for It!


"Luxurious materials."

Image source: WSB-TV

Atlanta's WSB-TV obtained photographs of the interior secretary's personal bathroom, which was renovated to the tune of $222,000 in 2007. (Image source: WSB-TV)

Seems the secretary of the interior is sitting pretty.

The Interior Department apparently spent $222,000 to renovate the secretary's personal 100-square-foot bathroom, outfitting it with a $3,500 sub-zero refrigerator, $2,600 custom cabinetry, a $689 faucet and even a $65 "vintage tissue holder," all at taxpayers' expense.

The renovations were done in 2007 under President George W. Bush's Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, apparently because of water leaks. They were completed before President Barack Obama or Interior Secretary Ken Salazar took office.

Image source: WSB-TV

Government auditors questioned the need for such pricy upgrades and launched an investigation, issuing memos about their findings in 2009. Atlanta's WSB-TV filed a Freedom of Information Act request, which took more than four years to fulfill.

"A number of the items incorporated into the renovation project call into question the need for luxurious materials," the audit found, according to WSB.

The renovations were approved and contracted by the General Services Administration -- the organization that found itself mired in scandal last year after a lavish Las Vegas training conference came to light.

A GSA representative stressed to WSB that the bathroom renovations took place during the previous administration and that "greater oversight" in in place to protect against future wasteful spending.

The U.S. national debt was about $9 trillion in 2007.

Image source: WSB-TV

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