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A. Always B. Be. G. Grifting

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Ben Carson is about as qualified to be HUD Chairman as I am to be the manager of a Premier League Football Team, and most of what I know about British soccer comes from World Forum. But he is in another way the perfect Trump cabinet member, given his remarkably pure focus on lining his own pockets while gutting his agency both actively and through neglect:

It seems that hardly a week can go by without Trump administration officials demonstrating that when it comes to frivolous spending on the government dime while the populace is told to make sacrifices, Marie Antoinette was a rank amateur.

The most recent example comes courtesy of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The New York Times reports that Secretary Ben Carson told his staffers the dining room table in his personal suite of offices was “covered in scratches, scuff marks and cracks,” as the Times put it.

The horror! This could not stand. So HUD officials — allegedly egged on by Carson’s wife — went off and spent $31,000 on a new custom hardwood table, complete with chairs and an accompanying hutch.

Not only did the HUD officials ignore the law, which demands they receive congressional sign-off on any furnishings of a department head’s office in excess of $5,000; there is now a complaint alleging that one longtime staffer was demoted when she resisted the excessive and illegal spending and that Carson’s spouse — who has no official government appointment — had pressured staff for a high-end renovation of her husband’s office suite.

Not only did the HUD officials ignore the law, which demands they receive congressional sign-off on any furnishings of a department head’s office in excess of $5,000; there is now a complaint alleging that one longtime staffer was demoted when she resisted the excessive and illegal spending and that Carson’s spouse — who has no official government appointment — had pressured staff for a high-end renovation of her husband’s office suite.

The good news for Carson is that if a Republican member of the executive branch does it while Republicans control Congress, it’s not illegal, or even worthy of serious inquiry.

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