Early this month, it was revealed in an inspector general’s report that Secretary Ben Carson had been cleared of any misconduct over an expensive dining set purchase. The Department of Housing and Urban Development investigators said no evidence had been found that Mr. Carson had acted improperly when he tried to buy a $31,000 dining room set for his office back in 2017.
According to the 14-page report, Mr. Carson and senior department staff members did not follow federal laws that actually prohibit expenditures of more than $5,000 on office furniture. If a purchase is going to exceed this amount, it requires congressional approval. Mr. Carson went against the law when he approved the purchase of the $31,000 dining set, consisting of a custom table, chairs and hutch to replace an old set.
Investigators have a different view on the situation. They have placed the blame not on Mr. Carson, but on department officials. They do acknowledge that Mr. Carson “seemed” to have knowledge of the requirement. However, they point the finger at department officials, who “were aware of the law” and “either failed to consider or didn’t understand” that it applied to the hefty purchase.
As criticism grew, Mr. Carson made the decision to cancel the order of the furniture set. In a video interview, he defended the attempted purchase. “When I heard about it through the news media, I said, ‘What?’ and I said, ‘Please cancel it right away’.”
“Not that $31,000 is way out of the park for a 17-piece dining room set,” he commented.
The investigation has been expensive for all involved. Mr. Carson has had to pay around $60,000 in legal fees. Meanwhile, the department has spent over 700,000 on the investigation. Fellow cabinet members have also had to hire personal lawyers.
As of now, the inspector general is still investigating the incident; this includes Mrs. Carson role in coordinating the redecoration of her husband’s office suite and the presence of the secretary’s son Ben Carson Jr. at department-sponsored meetings in 2017.
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Author Bio: Melissa Rayner is the 2nd generation owner of Trader Boys, where you will find quality office furniture in Los Angeles. She does her best writing at home in her sunny southern California garden.