Another Trump administration official is feeling the heat for what appears to be lavish spending.
This time it’s U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who according to documentation, bought a new executive flame mahogany desk with a leather top, had it returned, and then bought a Chippendale mahogany desk with a modesty panel.
In the end, Lighthizer’s office spent nearly $4,000 on finalizing the trade representative’s personal work space.
American Oversight, a watchdog group founded by former Barack Obama administration officials that has been pushing for records on multiple appointed official across several government agencies, obtained dozens of emails over a five-week period between between June 2017 and July 2017 showing Lighthizer and his staffers discussing furniture options. Much of the correspondence was conducted on Lighthizer’s personal email account.
"There's a troubling pattern of Trump appointees spending lavishly on themselves and wasting time and taxpayer money on things like luxury furniture,” American Oversight’s executive director, Austin Evers, told ABC News.
Lighthizer’s office indicated that the cost of the first new desk -- $2700 -- was reimbursed upon its return, but the expedited shipping charge that Lighthizer demanded was not. He reportedly paid that amount himself.
The second desk cost $2,900.
Along with the furniture expense, Lighthizer made two more purchases which ABC News notes would have put him over the $5,000 threshold requiring congressional approval:
An additional $858 spent to appoint the office with the U.S. Office of the Trade Representative seal and another $830 for the unrelated installation of two paintings in his office would appear to put Lighthizer over the limit, but it is not clear if Congress was notified.
Lighthizer previously came under scrutiny for the nearly $1 million plan to furnish two office buildings, which Lighthizer blamed on the prior administration.