Federal agency ‘spent $31,000 on Ben Carson’s office furniture’

Jeremy B White

Officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development reportedly spent $31,000 on office furniture for Secretary Ben Carson even as the White House sought to cut his agency’s spending.

The purchased covered a hardwood table and a set of chairs, according to procurement records obtained by the New York Times.

In a statement to the Times, Housing and Urban Development spokesman Raffi Williams said Mr Carson was unaware of the table being purchased but did not intend to return it.

A senior official in the housing agency had filed a complaint alleging she was punished after telling her superiors there were legal limits on how much could be spent on office furniture, according to the Guardian.

Before Mr Trump tapped him to run the housing agency, Mr Carson had no significant government experience. He rose to fame as a surgeon before launching an unsuccessful presidential campaign, during which he ran as a Republican.

He faced criticism earlier last year for suggesting government-funded housing should not be too accommodating, warning against providing “a comfortable setting that would make somebody want to say: ‘I’ll just stay here. They will take care of me.’”

Spending habits have already led to the ouster of one Trump cabinet official, former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who stepped down amid revelations that he had flown on taxpayer-funded private charter planes.

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