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Gowdy requests documents on Carson office redecoration

The House Oversight Committee is requesting information from Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Be...

Posted: Mar 1, 2018 4:04 PM
Updated: Mar 1, 2018 4:04 PM

The House Oversight Committee is requesting information from Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson over lavish spending on office redecoration and allegations that he retaliated against one of his employees who refused to spend more than was legally allowed.

In a letter addressed to Carson Tuesday, committee chair Trey Gowdy requested all documents and communications related to the "decorating, furnishing or equipping" of Carson's office dating back to January 1, 2017, be turned over, which includes receipts for the related expenses.

Gowdy, R-South Carolina, also asks Carson to "arrange to brief the committee on this matter."

The committee wants the documents and communications related to Helen Foster, the former chief administrative officer for HUD who alleges she was demoted partly because she refused to spend more than was legally allowed to redecorate Carson's office.

In a sworn complaint to the Office of Special Counsel last November that first surfaced this week, Foster said she was pressured to "find money" beyond the legal $5,000 limit for redecorating. In one instance, she says a supervisor argued that "$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair."

Foster wrote that because she refused to exceed the cap, she was "retaliated against by being taken out of my position as Chief Administrative Officer."

Carson said on Twitter Wednesday that "there has been no dishonesty or wrongdoing."

A HUD spokesman also disputed Foster's account and ensured to CNN that only $3,200 was spent on new blinds for Carson and the deputy secretary's office. HUD provided receipts to CNN that total $3,373.

CNN reported Wednesday that HUD also spent $31,000 last year to replace a dining room set in Carson's office, according to federal records and a whistleblower. A HUD official told CNN that the dining set was replaced because it was in a state of disrepair and is not subject to the $5,000 limit.

Carson announced Thursday that he wants to cancel the dining set.

"I was as surprised as anyone to find out that a $31,000 dining set had been ordered," Carson said in a statement Thursday provided to CNN by his spokesperson Armstrong Williams. "I have requested that the order be canceled. We will find another solution for the furniture replacement."

The House Oversight Committee gave Carson until March 14 to hand over related documents and communications.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 878
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Hennepin6918534
Ramsey231697
Stearns192312
Nobles14572
Anoka116455
Dakota105935
Olmsted55110
Washington50626
Kandiyohi4541
Clay36623
Rice3652
Scott3462
Wright2401
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Todd1970
Benton1662
Carver1612
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Martin1245
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Lac qui Parle30
Red Lake30
Big Stone30
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Traverse30
Grant20
Houston20
Clearwater20
Hubbard10
Kittson10
Lake10
Roseau10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 17227

Reported Deaths: 456
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk3714108
Woodbury255524
Black Hawk167639
Linn92775
Marshall86611
Dallas84914
Johnson5987
Muscatine54339
Wapello5004
Crawford4772
Tama39023
Louisa3347
Scott3319
Dubuque31916
Jasper25616
Buena Vista2310
Pottawattamie2106
Sioux1990
Washington1798
Allamakee1184
Wright1170
Plymouth1080
Warren1060
Story941
Poweshiek888
Bremer676
Henry611
Clinton601
Boone540
Des Moines531
Mahaska526
Cedar451
Guthrie433
Taylor370
Benton371
Jones360
Monroe334
Iowa320
Clarke320
Osceola320
Shelby310
Buchanan310
Clayton303
Marion290
Webster271
Fayette260
Hamilton260
Madison241
Monona230
Cerro Gordo221
Lee220
Winneshiek210
Davis200
Lyon190
Grundy190
Harrison190
Floyd181
Jefferson150
Cherokee150
Butler150
Mills140
Delaware140
Humboldt130
Sac130
Greene130
Keokuk130
Hardin130
Howard120
Hancock120
Appanoose123
Audubon111
Jackson110
Cass110
Ida100
Page100
Clay100
Winnebago100
Carroll90
Van Buren80
Franklin80
Dickinson80
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Emmet70
Lucas60
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Union60
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