Inspector General Clears Ben Carson and Wife of Wrongdoing in Furniture Controversy - Report


The results of an internal watchdog investigation reportedly reveal that neither Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson nor his wife, Candy Carson, engaged in any wrongdoing in attempting to purchase furniture for the agency.

The Carsons made headlines last February after media outlets, including The New York Times, accused Ben Carson of trying to spend $31,000 on a dining room set for his office.

According to The Times, a whistleblower accused Candy Carson of pushing for elaborate office modifications on the government’s dime.

“The whistleblower, Helen Foster, was a career HUD employee,” NPR reported. “She filed a complaint in November [2017] alleging she was demoted and replaced after refusing to exceed the legal $5,000 limit on redecoration.”

The Carsons have maintained ever since the controversy broke that they did nothing wrong.

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And the results of a HUD Office of Inspector General report, which Fox News obtained, appear to clear them.

According to the internal watchdog, Ben Carson let his staff deal with the buying of furniture for the HUD offices, “in consultation with his wife, who provided stylistic input after the Department decided to purchase new furniture.”

“We found no evidence indicating that either Secretary or Mrs. Carson exerted improper influence on any departmental employee in connection with the procurement,” the inspector general’s report reads.

“We did not find sufficient evidence to substantiate allegations of misconduct on the part of Secretary Carson in connection with this procurement,” it says.

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According to the watchdog, it all started in mid-2017, when HUD employees began the process of obtaining new furniture for Carson’s office.

“HUD officials obligated $31,561 in departmental funds on Dec. 21, 2017 for the purchase of new dining room furniture, but ‘did not make required notification’ to the House and Senate’s appropriations committees before doing so,” according to Fox, which cited the inspector general’s report.

The watchdog is “not making any recommendations to the Department as a result of the evidence gathered in this investigation because we found no evidence of misconduct and because the Department is working to address the legal ramifications of the dining-room furniture procurement and to prevent future appropriations-law violations.”

The Carsons, for their part, have defended themselves from the start.

“Thank you to so many who have expressed concern for me and my family over the latest accusations,” the couple tweeted last year. “Rest assured that there has been no dishonesty or wrongdoing by us. All the numbers and evidence are being gathered and a full disclosure is forthcoming.”

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Ben Carson also explained to the House Appropriations Committee last year that HUD staffers sought to buy new furniture because the existing furniture was not safe.

“People were stuck by nails, and a chair had collapsed with someone sitting in it,” he said, according to the Washington Examiner. “You know I’m not really big into decorating. If it were up to me, my office would probably look like a hospital waiting room. At any rate, I invited my wife in to come help me.”

The order for new furniture was canceled in March 2018 after the controversy erupted.

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Joe Setyon was a deputy managing editor for The Western Journal who had spent his entire professional career in editing and reporting. He previously worked in Washington, D.C., as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine.
Joe Setyon was deputy managing editor for The Western Journal with several years of copy editing and reporting experience. He graduated with a degree in communication studies from Grove City College, where he served as managing editor of the student-run newspaper. Joe previously worked as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine, a libertarian publication in Washington, D.C., where he covered politics and wrote about government waste and abuse.
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