Ben Carson knows whose perfidy was really responsible for blowing $31,000 of taxpayer money on a dining room set:
Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon turned secretary of Housing and Urban Development, was forced to explain Tuesday why he ordered a $31,000 mahogany dining room set for his office using taxpayer money. Under oath, he identified the culprit: his wife, Candy Carson.
Carson was speaking before the House Appropriations committee, when a Democrat at the hearing suggested he had made some “ethical lapses” — an assertion that left Carson visibly annoyed.
“If it were up to me, I would decorate my office like a hospital waiting room,” Carson said, according to the New York Times. He then squarely placed the blame on his wife for making the purchase.
“I left it with my wife,” Carson said. “I said, ‘Help choose something.’ But I said, ‘The money that is going to be used, we need to take care of the deputy secretary’s office. And whatever’s left over we can take care of the dining room furniture…’ The next thing that I quite frankly heard about it was that this $31,000 table had been bought. I thought, ‘What the heck is that all about?’”
But this was about…safety!
Carson had a $5,000 federal spending cap, which he exceeded by at least $26,000 — not for decorative purposes, but, he says, out of genuine concern for safety.
“People were stuck by nails, and a chair had collapsed with someone sitting in it,” Carson said.
Yes, everyone knows it is impossible to purchase a dining room set that does not pose a danger to diners for a mere five grand.
Elsewhere in Trump administration grift:
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt spent more than $120,000 in public funds last summer for a trip to Italy that included a meeting of G-7 ministers and a private tour of the Vatican.
The known cost of Pruitt’s previously reported trip grew this week after the agency disclosed a heavily censored document showing expenses for Pruitt’s security detail cost more than $30,500. That’s on top of nearly $90,000 spent for food, hotels, commercial airfare and a military jet used by Pruitt and nine EPA staff.
Last June, Pruitt flew to Bologna, Italy, for a meeting of environmental ministers from the world’s top seven economies. Pruitt attended only the first few hours of the summit before leaving early to jet back to Washington for a Cabinet meeting at the White House.
The trip came a week after the Trump administration announced its plans to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. He also went to Rome for a briefing at the U.S. Embassy, a meeting with business leaders and private tours of the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica.
The latest records were released following a lawsuit filed by the Environmental Integrity Project, an advocacy group.
Pruitt is the first EPA administrator to require a full-time security detail that guards him day and night, the total cost of which has not been disclosed. He has also taken other security precautions, including the addition of a $43,000 soundproof “privacy booth” inside his office to prevent eavesdropping on his phone calls and spending $3,000 to have his office swept for hidden listening devices.
The Environmental Protection Agency turned over documents to Congress late Tuesday detailing nearly $68,000 in newly disclosed travel costs for Administrator Scott Pruitt during the past seven months.
The records, which came at the request of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and were obtained by The Washington Post, show dozens of first-class domestic and overseas flights for Pruitt and other trip expenses between August and last month. That figure, which includes stays at high-priced hotels in New York City and Paris, does not include the travel expenditures of the personal security detail and aides who typically accompany him.
EPA officials attribute the elevated costs of Pruitt’s travels to the security precautions they have undertaken because of the number of threats he has received — especially compared to his immediate predecessors — since joining President Trump’s Cabinet in February 2017.
When he becomes Attorney General, Pruitt should be able to ascend to even higher levels of self-pealing and taxpayer-funded paranoid delusions.