Ben Carson‘s time as the unqualified secretary of Housing and Urban Development has not surprisingly been rife with incompetence. One of the most bizarre moments of his tenure in Donald trump’s administration was when Carson spent $31,000 on a dining room set for his office. Now it is being reported that he broke the law with the purchase.
According to Politico, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has determined Carson broke the law by buying the dining room set and with the installation of an $8,000 dishwasher in the office kitchen. “Agencies are required to notify Congress of expenditures over $5,000 to furnish an executive’s office,” Politico wrote Thursday.
Congress was reportedly not notified and Carson reportedly canceled the dining room set when the story broke early last year. No word about the dishwasher.
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee in charge of HUD, said in a statement that this apparent crime was “another example of the Trump administration trying to cast aside the law if it doesn’t suit them.”
He continued: “I am also disturbed by the pattern of false statements and attempts to conceal this incident, mislead the public, and prevent Congress and the American people from seeing how taxpayer dollars are being mismanaged.”
HUD officials have not commented on the decision from the GAO but supposedly HUD officials will set up a task force in the department to “improve its internal procedures.” HUD also instituted a mandatory review process “under which both its Office of Administration and Office of the Chief Financial Officer must approve all obligations or expenditures for covered purchases that affect any offices of any of HUD’s presidentially appointed officials,” according to the GAO.
The New York Times reported on the dining set and its price tag in February 2018, just after HUD announced plans to slash funding for the homeless, elderly and poor, Carson and his wife went on a spending spree for a dining room set. “The purchase of the custom hardwood table, chairs and hutch came a month after a top agency staff member filed a whistle-blower complaint charging Mr. Carson’s wife, Candy Carson, with pressuring department officials to find money for the expensive redecoration of his offices, even if it meant circumventing the law,” the Times wrote at the time.
Back in March of 2018, CNN.com reported that Carson was offered a chance to repair the chairs that were once there for a cost of just $1,100. But Carson reportedly refused. “Carson referenced this concern in his statement released earlier this month. The furniture, he said, was ‘characterized as unsafe’ and was ‘beyond repair and needed to be replaced,'” CNN wrote.
Unsafe? Like the despicable public housing Americans were living in that Carson said he believes make low-income people “too comfortable.”
A quote for the dining room furniture reportedly came in at $24,666, which is well over the $5,000 that was allowed (not just for dining room furniture, but for all office renovations for Carson). HUD Official Helen Foster filed a lawsuit after she was allegedly demoted for refusing to approve the extravagant furniture.
Just another day in Trump’s administration making America great again.