The Interior Secretary's pricey throne

Friday, February 8, 2013   |   Posted by Jim Hightower
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Does the name Dirk Kempthorne mean anything to you?

He was a little-known Idaho politico before becoming George W. Bush's industry-coddling secretary of the interior in 2006. While Dirk was not big on protecting our nation's public lands and natural resources from polluters and exploiters, he was very big on protecting the privileges of his own office – in particular the environment in which he was expected to (excuse the crude reference)… pee. It seems that the secretary's personal, private-office toilet had leaks, so, in 2007, he had it renovated.

No problem with that – except that the cost to us taxpayers was $222,000. Yes, his 10-foot-by-10-foot water closet cost more to renovate than many people pay for an entire house! Good grief, is that even possible? Well, yes, if you're a former corporate executive who expects the facility to be worthy of your exalted station in life.

Thanks to a Freedom of Information request, details of his palatial potty purchase have finally come to light. They include $26,000 for custom cabinetry – but he apparently thought that made sense, for he was, after all, a cabinet official. And the $689 faucet added a needed touch of elegance to a room that, otherwise, would merely be functional.

But what took Kempthorne's throne over the top – all the way to interior design majesty – was the inclusion of a $3,500 sub-zero refrigerator and freezer, tucked tastefully behind wood paneling. As I think we can all agree, a latrine without a proper fridge is just another crapper. And while the bears in our national parks do indeed defecate in the woods, Dirk, is no bear.

While we taxpayers are not allowed to use the secretary's luxurious loo, you can see some photos of it by going to www.wsbtv.com, then search for the name, “Kempthorne.”

"Audit: Taxpayer money used to pay for $222K renovation to official's bathroom," www.wsbtv.com, January 15, 2013.

"Interior Secretary's $222,000 Bathroom," www.yahoo.com, January 16, 2013.

"Dirk Kempthorne," www.wikipedia.org, 2013.

"Interior Department boss reportedly spent $222G on bathroom upgrade," www.foxnews.com.

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