Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and his wife Candy Carson were involved in the process to select a $31,000 dining set for Carson’s office suite, according to emails obtained by watchdog group American Oversight through a Freedom of Information Act Request.
In an August email about the dining set, a HUD staffer referenced “printouts of the furniture the Secretary and Mrs. Carson picked out.” Another email to Carson’s chief of staff and executive assistant included a quote for the new dining set, which was originally listed at $24,666. The emails obtained by American Oversight were first reported by CNN.
Carson cancelled the order for the dining set following several reports on the agency’s order for new furniture. In a statement earlier this month, Carson said that he “made it known that I was not happy about the prices being charged and that my preference would be to find something more reasonable” and that he was “surprised” to learn that HUD ordered the $31,000 set. When the story first broke, a HUD spokesman said that Carson was unaware of the purchase.
Asked about the newly released emails, HUD spokesman Raffi Williams told CNN on Tuesday, “When presented with options by professional staff, Mrs. Carson participated in the selection of specific styles.”