White House looking into pricey dining room set under HUD’s Carson

The White House said Thursday which the idea is usually “looking into” the controversial purchase of a $31,561 mahogany dining room set at the U.S. Housing in addition to Urban Development Department under Secretary Ben Carson.

which comment by White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders came hours after Carson said he was telling his brand-new financial watchdog, Irving Dennis, to design “transformational plans” to tackle “waste, fraud in addition to abuse” at HUD.

in addition to the idea came a day after news broke which Carson’s wife, Candy Carson, had participated in selecting styles for the infamous dining room set, despite HUD’s initial claims which Ben Carson had not known about the purchase before the idea came to light in late February.

An email disclosed Wednesday shows which a HUD staffer referred to “the furniture which the Secretary in addition to Mrs. Carson picked out.”

in addition to another email showed which Aida Rodriguez, an administrative officer in HUD’s executive office, wrote in an August email which she thought the dining room set had “a very reasonable cost.”

The set of furniture was to have graced HUD’s executive dining room, located near the secretary’s office. Carson has since canceled the order after a wave of bad publicity about the idea. The scrutiny was especially pronounced since the department focuses in large part on facilitating access to affordable housing for low-income Americans.

White House spokeswoman Sanders was asked at a news conference if the purchase of the dining room set was an appropriate use of taxpayer money, in addition to if President Donald Trump had spoken to Carson about the idea.

“This specific is usually something we’re looking into,” Sanders said. “I don’t have any updates on which front.”

A former top HUD official, Helen Foster, has complained which she was repeatedly told in early 2017 to “find money” for Candy Carson to purchase furniture for her husband’s office. Candy Carson is usually not a HUD employee.

Foster, who had been the department’s chief administrative officer, has said she was demoted after pushing back on efforts to help Candy Carson redecorate the office at a cost above the $5,000 legal threshold for such projects.

HUD said which Thursday which Dennis, the department’s chief financial officer, will be overseeing the design in addition to implementation of “a transformation plan in addition to lead an internal task force to combat waste, fraud in addition to abuse.

Carson appointed Dennis “to protect the financial integrity of the agency in addition to correct lax internal processes in addition to controls,” according to HUD.

“We simply need to do better,” Carson said.

“We will approach This specific as any business might by increasing transparency in addition to accountability,” the secretary said. “inside end, we will also support a culture which respects the fact which HUD funds belong to the public.”

Even before Foster lodged her complaint about proposed spending on his office, Ben Carson was under fire for allegedly ignoring warnings by HUD lawyers which allowing his son Ben Jr. to be involved in organizing a HUD “listening tour” in 2017 risked running afoul of ethics rules.

Ben Carson has asked HUD’s internal watchdog, the inspector general’s office, to investigate the role of his family members at the department.

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