Ben Carson Defends Purchase of $31000 Dining Set at Congressional Hearing

Elias Hubbard
March 21, 2018

"You know, I'm not really big into decorating".

The department confirmed last week that Candy Carson was involved in selecting the table after agency emails were released referencing his wife's involvement in the decision.

"I asked my wife also to help me with that, they showed us some catalogues, the prices were beyond what I wanted to pay, I made it clear that that just didn't seem right to me, and I left it with my wife", Carson said of the furniture selections.

"When I assumed the position I was told that traditionally secretaries redecorate their offices", Carson explained to the budget committee Tuesday. I said 'what the heck is this all about?' " Carson said. A HUD spokesperson first told CNN that neither Carson or his wife, Candy, were involved in the decision to purchase the $31,000 dining set. "I left it with my wife, I said 'help choose something'".

The federal spending cap for purchase like this is $5,000, which this purchase violated.

There have been other concerns about the Carson family's involvement in HUD matters after Carson's son, Ben Carson Jr, participated in a listening tour of Baltimore despite a warning from department lawyers that it could appear as a conflict of interest.

An Aug. 29, 2017 email from HUD chief of staff Sheila Greenwood to HUD administrative officer Aida Rodriguez and executive assistant to the secretary Allison Mills reads, "I believe Allison has print outs of the furniture the secretary and Mrs. Carson picked". In comments flagged CBS reporter Katie Watson, Carson said the final decision was left up to her.

Carson said he did know about the purchase until learning about it through the media, and that he canceled it as soon as he found out about it.

A whistleblower at HUD said that she had been demoted after reporting that the furniture exceeded the $5,000 legal cost limit. Well, not Ben Carson. Making matters worse, Carson has been accused of wastefully spending taxpayer money while HUD has cut public housing funds.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is back with more anti-transgender rhetoric, saying his department is backtracking on antidiscrimination protections for trans people because their presence in homeless shelters makes others feel uncomfortable, with the implication that trans people somehow pose a threat.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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