Maybe the Pentagon’s legendary $600 toilet seat was a bargain.
The personal bathroom used by the secretary of the Interior is so swanky that its renovation cost $222,000. No detail was overlooked: It has a $3,500 sub-zero refrigerator (hey, if you’re going to have a fridge in the bathroom, it might as well be a good one) and a $689 faucet. At least the “vintage tissue holder” was cheap: just $65 bucks.
The renovation was done in 2007 under President George W. Bush’s Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, but is only now coming to light, thanks to the dogged reporting by ABC News Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV, which first filed a Freedom of Information Act request on the renovation four years ago.
The renovations were the subject of an internal audit by the General Services Administration, which has responsibility for most federal government properties.
In a classic bureaucratic understatement, the audit report noted, “A number of the items incorporated into the renovation project call into question the need for luxurious materials.”
UPDATE: GSA spokesperson Dan Cruz responded to our story with this statement:
“These renovations began in 2007, which predates the current leadership at both the GSA and the Department of Interior. Under the current leadership, we have greater oversight to ensure the responsible use of taxpayer dollars. The renovations were part of a larger restoration project at the historic facility.”