Gowdy requests documents on Carson office redecoration

The House Oversight Committee is requesting information from Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Be...

Posted: Mar 1, 2018 4:04 PM
Updated: Mar 1, 2018 4:04 PM

The House Oversight Committee is requesting information from Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson over lavish spending on office redecoration and allegations that he retaliated against one of his employees who refused to spend more than was legally allowed.

In a letter addressed to Carson Tuesday, committee chair Trey Gowdy requested all documents and communications related to the "decorating, furnishing or equipping" of Carson's office dating back to January 1, 2017, be turned over, which includes receipts for the related expenses.

Gowdy, R-South Carolina, also asks Carson to "arrange to brief the committee on this matter."

The committee wants the documents and communications related to Helen Foster, the former chief administrative officer for HUD who alleges she was demoted partly because she refused to spend more than was legally allowed to redecorate Carson's office.

In a sworn complaint to the Office of Special Counsel last November that first surfaced this week, Foster said she was pressured to "find money" beyond the legal $5,000 limit for redecorating. In one instance, she says a supervisor argued that "$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair."

Foster wrote that because she refused to exceed the cap, she was "retaliated against by being taken out of my position as Chief Administrative Officer."

Carson said on Twitter Wednesday that "there has been no dishonesty or wrongdoing."

A HUD spokesman also disputed Foster's account and ensured to CNN that only $3,200 was spent on new blinds for Carson and the deputy secretary's office. HUD provided receipts to CNN that total $3,373.

CNN reported Wednesday that HUD also spent $31,000 last year to replace a dining room set in Carson's office, according to federal records and a whistleblower. A HUD official told CNN that the dining set was replaced because it was in a state of disrepair and is not subject to the $5,000 limit.

Carson announced Thursday that he wants to cancel the dining set.

"I was as surprised as anyone to find out that a $31,000 dining set had been ordered," Carson said in a statement Thursday provided to CNN by his spokesperson Armstrong Williams. "I have requested that the order be canceled. We will find another solution for the furniture replacement."

The House Oversight Committee gave Carson until March 14 to hand over related documents and communications.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 149940

Reported Deaths: 3779
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto9953104
Hinds9892198
Harrison7045110
Jackson6270119
Rankin5462102
Lee501095
Madison4734106
Forrest380586
Jones354888
Lauderdale3425145
Lafayette321549
Washington3161107
Lamar289250
Oktibbeha244362
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Lowndes234164
Panola219850
Neshoba2196118
Marshall213850
Leflore204790
Pontotoc199228
Monroe197377
Sunflower191655
Lincoln188765
Warren175357
Tate168051
Union166025
Copiah163040
Pike161658
Yazoo154239
Scott152129
Itawamba151534
Pearl River150867
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Alcorn149628
Simpson146753
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Adams141150
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Leake133543
Holmes129961
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Tippah124530
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Winston121624
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Wayne117223
Marion115846
Attala112234
Tishomingo108942
Chickasaw107132
Newton104229
Tallahatchie96827
Clay90327
Clarke89353
Jasper82022
Walthall76328
Stone76114
Calhoun73913
Montgomery73625
Carroll72115
Lawrence70814
Noxubee70617
Yalobusha70627
Smith70516
Perry66126
Tunica60619
Greene60022
Claiborne58316
Jefferson Davis56517
Amite53114
Humphreys53119
Benton49117
Quitman4897
Webster43414
Kemper42518
Wilkinson39422
Jefferson34811
Franklin3365
Choctaw3237
Sharkey30917
Issaquena1144
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 242874

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31944500
Mobile19687361
Madison13065148
Tuscaloosa12983154
Montgomery12286236
Shelby1020377
Baldwin860398
Lee773566
Morgan653850
Calhoun6240119
Marshall621355
Etowah621066
Houston523038
DeKalb481336
Cullman435442
Limestone420645
St. Clair415855
Elmore404564
Lauderdale400454
Walker3634111
Talladega349054
Jackson313423
Colbert309342
Blount288840
Autauga271642
Franklin251033
Coffee242615
Dale231854
Dallas225932
Chilton221938
Russell22143
Covington218534
Escambia197931
Chambers176550
Tallapoosa175791
Pike158314
Clarke158019
Marion137936
Winston132323
Lawrence127336
Pickens122318
Geneva12138
Marengo121024
Bibb117317
Barbour117110
Butler115341
Randolph102021
Cherokee101524
Hale96131
Clay91124
Washington90919
Fayette89816
Henry8526
Lowndes79529
Monroe78711
Cleburne77114
Macon73122
Crenshaw71130
Bullock69419
Conecuh68414
Perry6846
Lamar6718
Wilcox63218
Sumter57722
Greene42418
Choctaw42113
Coosa3414
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