Ben Carson wants to cancel his office's $31K furniture order

For a man who it seems can fall asleep literally anywhere, Carson's pickiness is certainly surprising

Published March 1, 2018 7:34PM (EST)

Ben Carson (AP/Matt Rourke)
Ben Carson (AP/Matt Rourke)

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is requesting that a $31,561 order for tables and chairs for his office be canceled after the furniture's steep price tag fell under public scrutiny.

"At the request of the Secretary, the agency is working to rescind the order for the dining room set," HUD spokesman Raphael Williams told Politico Thursday.

Carson's move follows the House committee's request for documents related to the redecoration venture. The request also included a complaint filed last November by Helen Foster, a former senior HUD official, who claimed she was demoted for refusing a request to help Carson's wife, Candy, spend more than the legally allowed $5,000 maximum on her husband's office redecoration venture. Foster claims she received pushback for attempting to call attention to budget shortfalls totaling $10 million, and that she was ousted from her role by a Trump appointee. The complaint alleges that HUD had "violated laws protecting whistleblowers from reprisals."

The news makes HUD the latest agency under President Trump to come under fire for a scandal stemming from senior officials abusing power and funds for personal benefit. The same pattern played out with Tom Price, the former secretary of Health and Human Services, who resigned after it was revealed he had made lavish personal trips on the taxpayer's dime.

Taxpayer funds have also been misused by Environmental Protection Agency Chief Scott Pruitt, who like Price, also enjoys flying first class. Add Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to that list, too, as he faced criticism recently for pricey short-distance helicopter trips, one of which involved riding horses with Vice President Mike Pence.

Carson may not be roaming the skies on private jets, but he has remarkably expensive tastes in furniture, particularly for a man who is renowned for his ability to fall asleep anywhere.

By Shira Tarlo

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