Money

$220,000 Bathroom Built for Secretary of the Interior

| by Michael Allen

The personal bathroom used by the Secretary of the Interior is so fancy that its renovation cost a whopping $220,000.

The bathroom includes a $3,500 sub-zero refrigerator, $689 faucet and vintage tissue holder at $65.

The renovation was actually done in 2007 under President George W. Bush’s Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, but is only now being reported by ABC News Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV, which filed a Freedom of Information Act request on the renovation four years ago.

The bathroom renovations were the subject of an internal audit by the General Services Administration, which has responsibility for most federal government properties.

The audit report stated: “A number of the items incorporated into the renovation project call into question the need for luxurious materials.”

Taxpayers Protection Alliance president David Williams told WSBTV: "First and foremost the country is broke. We can't afford as taxpayers the remodeling of bathrooms or any rooms that don't need to be remodeled."

This story was actually reported back in 2009 by CNN correspondent Campbell Brown, who reported that Kempthorne used "$235,000 of [taxpayer] money to renovate his office bathroom at the Department of Interior."

At the time, Brown reported that the renovations included a shower, refrigerator, freezer hidden behind lavish wood paneling and "DK" monogrammed towels.

Donald Swain, Chief of the Interior Department's National Business Center, denied that the monogrammed towels existed and the renovations actually came in $10,000 under budget and were approved by the General Services Administration.

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There was no outcry in 2009 by Republicans criticizing Kempthorne for "out of control spending."