Ben Carson is the latest Trump administration official to face questions about spending issues. He’s in some serious hot water over allegations of lavish spending on his office decor as the Trump administration proposes massive budget cuts, according to Business Insider.
According to the site, problems arose when Carson’s team said they were trying to cancel an order for a $31,000 mahogany dinning set to replace the 50-year-old table that’s currently on his office. Carson’s manager, Armstrong Williams, told the New York Post that canceling the order “might not be possible.”
“HUD is a bureaucracy, so everything is complicated. The person they contracted has already spent $14,000 making the table,” Williams said. “While his intentions are to cancel it, we have to see what happens.”
Carson claims that he knew nothing about the hefty $31,000 dinning set order, and told CNN that his office would find a different route for replacing the furniture. “I was as surprised as anyone to find out that a $31,000 dining set had been ordered,” Carson said. “I made it known that I was not happy about the prices being charged and that my preference would be to find something more reasonable.”
Carson’s spending caught the eye of former top HUD official, Helen Foster, who filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel over the lavish expenses. What’s interesting about this is that Helen is alleging that Carson’s wife pressured her to find a loophole around the $5,000 limit for office decor, then went off on her when she told her no.
Helen said Carson’s wife said that “$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair” and “we have to find the money.”
HUD spokesman Raffi Williams claims that Helen wasn’t pressured by Carson’s wife and she was reassigned as part of an agency reshuffle, not out of retaliation.
Helen’s claims were enough for the House Oversight Committee to launch an investigation. Rep. Trey Gowdy, the committee chairman, sent Carson’s staff a letter on Wednesday informaing them that they will need to send documents on office furnishings since the beginning of 2017 and an explanation for the $31,000 purchase.
Ben maintains he did nothing wrong. “Thank you to so many who have expressed concern for me and my family over the latest accusations,” Carson on the Twitter account he shares with his wife Candy Carson. “All the numbers and evidence are being gathered and a full disclosure is forthcoming.”