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 GowdyTrey GowdyTrey Gowdy sets goal of avoiding ideological echo chamber with Fox News show Fox News signs Trey Gowdy, Dan Bongino for new shows Pompeo rebukes Biden's new foreign policy MORE (R-S.C.) announced on Wednesday that the committee is probing whether Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben CarsonBen CarsonRepublicans are the 21st-century Know-Nothing Party Sunday shows preview: Delta concerns prompt CDC mask update; bipartisan infrastructure bill to face challenges in Senate Government indoctrination, whether 'critical' or 'patriotic,' is wrong 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.