What in the world is going on with Dr. Ben Carson and the government department he was giving charge over?
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the Department of Housing and Urban Development, apparently at the behest of now-Secretary Carson’s wife, Candy, splurged on a $31,000 dining room set for the HUD office late last year.
Helen Foster, who filed the whistleblower complaint, claimed she was replaced in her role because she refused to fund a redecoration of Carson’s office. She alleged in the complaint that she was told to “find money” for the redecoration, despite it exceeding budgetary limits.
Apparently, for expenditures for redecoration of government offices that exceed $5,000, congressional approval is needed, but nobody with the HUD office sought out that approval before buying a hutch, a custom hardwood table, and chairs.
A HUD spokesman told the Times that Carson “didn’t know the table had been purchased” but does not intend to return it.
“In general, the secretary does want to be as fiscally prudent as possible with the taxpayers’ money,” HUD spokesman Raffi Williams told the newspaper.
I’d ask, what role is his wife playing, and does she know the rules?
Another part of the NYT report says that she was informed that approval was needed to exceed $5,000 and that she remarked that you couldn’t buy a decent chair for $5,000.
Life as the wife of a neurosurgeon has damaged her perception.
Carson’s troubles may be a bit more involved than just a wife with expensive tastes.
The inspector general of HUD is on the case, looking into just how involved Carson’s family is in HUD business. There have, apparently, been concerns raised.
The son of the secretary, Ben Carson, Jr. is a local businessman. He’s been inviting potential associates to HUD events, which, to officials who knew of the arrangement, “gave the appearance that the secretary may be using his position for his son’s private gain.”
Seriously, for most of us, even if we were strongly opposed to Carson as a presidential candidate, we saw him as a nice, likeable guy. The idea that a year as part of the Washington machine has turned him into another bureaucrat with no sense of how he spends taxpayers’ money is kind of depressing.
Perhaps it’s not that bad. To his credit, Carson asked for an inspector general investigation into the allegations.