HUD Secretary Ben Carson is under fire after new emails contradict his claims that he didn’t have a hand in ordering high-priced furniture on taxpayers’ dime.
CNN reports that emails released under the Freedom of Information Act show that Carson and his wife Candy Carson handpicked $31,000 worth of furniture for the Housing and Urban Development dining room in an email exchange with a staffer.
The documents reveal an email Ben Carson sent to his assistant with the subject line “Secretary’s dining room set needed.” The assistant then references “printouts of the furniture the Secretary and Mrs. Carson picked out,” in a subsequent email.
The gotcha report comes just weeks after Carson denied ordering the expensive furniture set, saying he was not the one to blame. Carson spoke out in a statement via CNN.
“I was as surprised as anyone to find out that a $31,000 dining set had been ordered,” Carson wrote . “I have requested that the order be canceled. We will find another solution for the furniture replacement.”
Were you just as surprised as anyone, Benny?
“My wife also looked at catalogs and wanted to be sure that the color of the chair fabric of any set that was chosen matched the rest of the decor,” Carson continued. ”I made it known that I was not happy about the prices being charged and that my preference would be to find something more reasonable.”
The $31,000 charge was for a mahogany dining set that included a table, sideboard, breakfront, and 10 chairs. The order has reportedly since been cancelled.
Over a hundred pages of email exchanges have been uncovered by American Oversight, a non-partisan oversight group who filed a lawsuit to get these and other documents detailing Carson and other HUD officials’ office renovation. Despite a $5,000 budget, see for yourself how much they planned to spend: