The New York Times reports that Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) officials spent $31,000 on a dining room set for Secretary Ben Carson’s office in late 2017.
The news comes after the Trump Administration proposed an 18 percent or $8.8 billion cut in HUD’s budget to allow households to “shoulder” more responsibility in their housing costs, according to Newsweek.
A month after the purchase of “the custom hardwood table, chairs and hutch,” Secretary Carson’s wife, Candy Carson, had apparently urged department officials to find money to redecorate her husband’s office even if meant going around the law, according to whistleblower complaint that was filed by a top staff member.
A HUD spokesman, Raffi Williams, told the Times that Secretary Carson “didn’t know the table had been purchased,” but has no plans to return it.
Federal law requires Congressional approval from the House or Senate Appropriations Committees for items exceeding $5,000. No such request was made by HUD officials, according to the Times.
Williams said the dining set served a “building-wide need” and did not need to request approval, according to the article.