ShareThis Page
Government audit: Ben Carson’s $40K office purchases broke law | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

Government audit: Ben Carson’s $40K office purchases broke law

Associated Press
1174542_web1_1174542-3366a796224047d48c8513b10d4c3ac6
In this Oct. 26, 2018, photo, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson speaks to the audience before President Donald Trump speaks at the 2018 Young Black Leadership Summit in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Government auditors say Carson violated the law when his department spent more than $40,000 to purchase a dining set and a dishwasher for his office’s executive dining room. In a report released May 16, 2019, the Government Accountability Office says the agency failed to notify Congress before exceeding a $5,000 limit to furnish or make improvements to the office of a presidential appointee. The dining set cost more than $31,000 and the dishwasher cost nearly $9,000.

WASHINGTON — Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson violated the law when his department spent more than $40,000 to purchase a dining set and a dishwasher for his office’s executive dining room, government auditors concluded.

In a report released Thursday, the Government Accountability Office said HUD failed to notify Congress before exceeding a $5,000 limit set by Congress to furnish or make improvements to the office of a presidential appointee. The dining set cost more than $31,000 and the dishwasher cost nearly $9,000.

Carson told lawmakers last year that he was unaware of the purchase and canceled it as soon as he learned about it in news reports. He also told a House Appropriations subcommittee that he left furniture purchasing decisions to his wife. But emails released by watchdog group American Oversight suggested that Carson and his wife, Candy Carson, both played a role in choosing the furniture.

The GAO said HUD did not break the law when it paid more than $4,000 for new blinds for Carson’s office suite.

Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the top Democrat on the Senate appropriations subcommittee that oversees HUD, said that while the amount of money may be small, it’s a “willful disregard for the appropriate use” of taxpayer dollars.

“There needs to be more accountability at HUD and stronger oversight of the Trump Administration or else this pattern of unlawful behavior will continue, and I worry it won’t just be a small amount of money the next time,” Reed said in a statement.

HUD Chief Financial Officer Irv Dennis said the department has been working to improve its financial controls.

“Our job is to make sure systems are in place to protect every taxpayer dollar we spend and to restore sound financial management and stability to the way we do business,” Dennis said in a statement.

Categories: News | World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.