Gowdy probing 'excessive spending' on redecoration of Ben Carson's HUD office

Gowdy probing 'excessive spending' on redecoration of Ben Carson's HUD office
© Moriah Ratner

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyHillicon Valley: FBI fires Strzok after anti-Trump tweets | Trump signs defense bill with cyber war policy | Google under scrutiny over location data | Sinclair's troubles may just be beginning | Tech to ease health data access | Netflix CFO to step down FBI fires Strzok after anti-Trump texts House Intel lawmakers introduce bipartisan election security bill MORE (R-S.C.) announced on Wednesday that the committee is probing whether Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonBen Carson takes steps to revamp Obama fair housing rule Conway struggles to name top-ranking black official in White House The Memo: Charlottesville anniversary puts Trump and race under microscope MORE's used "excessive spending" on the redecoration of his office. 

The announced probe follows reports that HUD staff member Helen Foster claimed she was replaced in her role because she refused to find a way around a $5,000 limit for redecorating Carson’s office.

Gowdy requested in a letter to Carson that he turn over all communications related to Foster, as well as all documents and communications related to the redecoration of his office. 

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The letter also requests all documents and communications related to the "redecorating, furnishing, or equipping" of the secretary's office from Jan. 1, 1998, to Dec. 31, 2016. 

Carson has until March 14 to provide the material to the committee. 

The Hill has reached out to HUD for comment. 

The New York Times first reported on Tuesday that HUD spent $31,000 last year on a new dining room set, which included a custom hardwood table, chairs and a hutch.

Foster said she was told to “find money” for the redecoration, despite it exceeding budgetary limits.

A HUD spokesman told the Times that Carson “didn’t know the table had been purchased” and is not planning on returning it. 

HUD reportedly did not request congressional approval for redecorating purchases.

“In general, the secretary does want to be as fiscally prudent as possible with the taxpayers’ money,” HUD spokesman Raffi Williams said.