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New Emails Reportedly Show Ben Carson Picked Out $31,000 Dining Set

Remember when Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said he had nothing to do with the $31,000 dining set his department bought?

Well according to emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and reported by CNN, Carson and his wife hand-picked the pricey furniture.

Per CNN:

An August email from a career administration staffer, with the subject line “Secretary’s dining room set needed,” to Carson’s assistant refers to “printouts of the furniture the Secretary and Mrs. Carson picked out.”

The documents were released following a Freedom of Information Act request from American Oversight, a liberal watchdog group led by former Obama administration officials, and offer a snapshot into how the agency acquired the furniture.

That flies in the face of a statement made a month ago by HUD spokesman Raffi Williams, who said as the controversy simmered that “Mrs. Carson and the secretary had no awareness that the table was being purchased.”

As CNN notes, one HUD spokesman even blamed the purchase on an unnamed staffer: “The secretary did not order a new table. The table was ordered by the career staffers in charge of the building.”

The newly released emails show discussions about the new furniture set went back to May 2017, when Carson deemed the chairs in the department precarious and unsafe.

The furniture set — which included a custom table and pedestals for $4,000, a sideboard for $13,579, a breakfront priced at roughly $7,000, and 10 chairs putting an over $10,000 dent in the department’s wallet — was eventually returned by the department after the uproar.

HUD plays a critical role in alleviating poverty and allocating housing for low-income Americans. The retired neurosurgeon who now runs the department once famously told the New York Times he didn’t want housing for the poor to be too comfortable.

[image via screengrab]

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