BEN CARSON/ETHICS/HUD: “When news broke that a $31,000 dining room set had been ordered for the office of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, the secretary’s office immediately went into crisis mode.
Carson, you see, had nothing to do with such an exorbitant expenditure — which, not for nothing, HUD canceled as soon as it came to light. ‘Mrs. Carson and the secretary had no awareness that the table was being purchased,’ said HUD spokesman Raffi Williams at the time. Added a HUD official: ‘The secretary did not order a new table. The table was ordered by the career staffers in charge of the building.’
Carson, in a statement of his own released soon after the new of the dining room set came to light, said he was ‘surprised’ at how much everything cost.
Except that new reporting — via a Freedom of Information Act request — from CNN seems to directly contradict those claims:
‘An August email from a career administration staffer, with the subject line *Secretary’s dining room set needed,* to Carson’s assistant refers to *printouts of the furniture the Secretary and Mrs. Carson picked out.*’
Asked Tuesday about the discrepancy between his past comments and the internal emails, Williams offered only this explanation: ‘When presented with options by professional staff, Mrs. Carson participated in the selection of specific styles.’
So, how do you square that circle?
Either Carson and his wife knew that the dining room set was being purchased — and its rough cost — or they didn’t. You can’t say that they had ‘no awareness that the table was being purchased’ if, as the newly-released emails suggest, they has sent specific printouts of what furniture they wanted. Both of those things can’t be true.”
-Chris Cillizza, “So, HUD lied about buying Ben Carson’s $31,000 dining room set?,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, Mar. 14, 2018 10:53am