HUD Spends $31,000 On Dining Set For Ben Carson, Plans Deep Cuts For Poor Americans
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) spent $31,561 on a new dining room set for HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s office in late 2017, which was when the Trump administration proposed large cuts in HUD programs that help poor, elderly and homeless Americans.
The $31,561 in taxpayer money paid for a custom hardwood table, chairs and hutch, notes The New York Times.
Raffi Williams, a HUD spokesman, said Carson “didn’t know the table had been purchased,” but added that Carson isn’t going to return the dining set because he believes it was not overpriced.
Williams added: “In general, the secretary does want to be as fiscally prudent as possible with the taxpayers’ money.”
Helen G. Foster, a former top HUD official, filed a whistle-blower complaint with the Office of Special Counsel against Carson’s wife, Candy, for allegedly pressuring HUD officials to find money to purchase better furniture for the office, even if that meant going around a $5,000 redecoration federal law.
Foster refused the request and claimed she then sent HUD officials a copy of the redecoration federal law that requires congressional approval “to furnish or redecorate the office of a department head” for costs over $5,000.
HUD officials did not ask for congressional approval for the $31,561 worth of furniture.
Williams claimed HUD officials did not ask for congressional approval because the dining set served a “building-wide need.”
In reality, the dining set is in Carson’s 10th-floor office suite, which is not open for the building-wide use.
Meanwhile, Foster claimed she was removed from her position as the department’s chief administrative officer for opposing the illegal purchase, and was transferred to HUD’s unit overseeing Freedom of Information Act requests, which she saw as retribution.