Things have gone from bad worse in the drama over Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson's $31,000 dining room set.
On Tuesday, Carson attended a House committee hearing that was supposed to concern budget cuts to his agency. However, the secretary found himself instead fielding questions about the infamous dining set, which has turned into quite a headache for Carson and his agency.
Carson has offered contradictory statements about the expensive dining room set — which far surpasses a $5,000 spending cap for department head office redecoration without Congressional approval. Initially, Carson said he was ignorant about the price of the set, but that is contradicted by recently released emails
that show top department aides were aware of it and referenced "printouts of the furniture the secretary and Mrs. Carson picked out."
To make matters worse, Carson's latest stance is that he is now blaming the purchase on his wife.
"I was not big into redecorating. If it were up to me, my office would look like a hospital waiting room," Carson, told the committee, according to The New York Times
"I invited my wife to come and help,” he said. “I left it to my wife, you know, to choose something. I dismissed myself from the issues.” He also said that he and his wife "were both not happy about the price."
He also argued the decision to replace the furniture was a safety concern. "People were stuck by nails, and a chair had collapsed with someone sitting in it," he said. In the released emails, an aide stated that the furniture had not been changed since 1988 as a justification for the high price.
A whistle-blower has claimed she was demoted and transferred after trying to enforce the $5,000 redecoration limit. Carson's department has since canceled the furniture order.
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