Blog: Interior IG to investigate Kempthorne bathroom
"Does outgoing Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne need a $236,000 bathroom? Or is some of that money going down the drain?

That's what Interior Department investigators are determined to find out. Today, Inspector General Earl Devaney said his office has launched a probe into the bathroom project and "still have plenty of facts to flush out." (Pun intended.)

Kempthorne spent $236,000 in taxpayer funds renovating his office bathroom last fall, installing a new shower, a refrigerator and freezer and wainscot wood panelling, department officials say. Questions from The Post sparked the interest of the inspector general.

Shane Wolfe, a spokesman for Kempthorne's office, said the new 100-square-foot bathroom will replace an older washroom being removed to make way for an emergency stairwell. Aside from asbestos abatement and electrical and plumbing upgrades, the bathroom was constructed, in part, to preserve the office's "storied history," Wolfe said. At Interior, he said, "Preserving historic structures is part of what we do."

As for the refrigerator and freezer, Wolfe said that Interior secretaries hold meetings in the office and could potentially serve guests a cold beverage, such as "Diet Coke," Wolfe said. "That seems reasonable," he said."

Get the Story:
Flushing Out Interior's Bathroom Spending (The Washington Post 1/8)

More Coverage:
Kempthorne’s last days marked by criticism over lavish spending (Indian Country Today 1/9)

Related Stories:
Editorial: No ordinary potty for Dirk Kempthorne (1/7)
In the Loop: Kempthorne spent $235K on bathroom (1/5)