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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 5:04 PM
Updated: Mar 1, 2018 5:04 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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1005797

Reported Deaths: 16449
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1353572119
Lake663011164
Allen57820801
Hamilton46296464
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Elkhart35888509
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Grant10051220
Morgan9457176
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Henry8200152
Noble8017106
Marshall7916135
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Ohio84513
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1511760

Reported Deaths: 23616
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1636861666
Cuyahoga1457252442
Hamilton1050421416
Montgomery737101254
Summit614971105
Lucas56058912
Butler51383711
Stark464421056
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Lake26907443
Delaware24114162
Licking23820287
Trumbull22742556
Fairfield22309246
Greene22212320
Medina21941311
Clark19757351
Richland18500285
Portage17857250
Wood17394221
Allen15905269
Miami15487299
Muskingum14737185
Columbiana13940269
Wayne13722265
Tuscarawas12643304
Marion11906175
Scioto11432161
Pickaway11346141
Erie10811181
Ross10532198
Lawrence9725153
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Hancock9649150
Belmont9262206
Geauga8906157
Jefferson8531197
Huron8338141
Union816557
Washington8066138
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Knox7679141
Darke7618155
Seneca7306144
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Auglaize678097
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Brown633387
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Defiance6162103
Mercer612893
Fulton599296
Highland596899
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Guernsey583468
Logan582795
Clinton581191
Preble5692122
Putnam5301108
Williams526185
Perry516563
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Jackson506571
Ottawa484086
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Morrow456656
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Hardin416678
Gallia416266
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Van Wert369579
Henry362571
Holmes3619123
Hocking355579
Wyandot322261
Carroll300659
Paulding279147
Meigs263350
Monroe214854
Noble198946
Morgan193232
Harrison180143
Vinton165125
Unassigned05
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