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Gowdy seeks answers on allegations of excessive spending, retaliation at HUD

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Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, on Wednesday requested that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson revenues all documents and communications related to allegations with a high-ranking civil servant they was the target of reprisals after sounding the alarm on agency spending.

“To profit the Committee check if HUD stuck to the applicable spending limitations while redecorating your workplace, please provide … [a]ll documents and communications referring or pertaining to redecorating, furnishing, or equipping your office since January 1, 2017,” Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican, wrote to Carson, in line with excerpts with the letter released Wednesday.

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The chairman added: "Furthermore, please arrange to brief the Committee within this matter after producing the requested documents and data."

HUD official Helen Foster, in a very sworn complaint to the Office of Special Counsel, raised concerns spending too much money at the department, including Carson’s plans for redecorating.

According to Foster’s lawyers, she was demoted all of the sudden or explanation in July 2017, one year after being promoted towards role of chief administrative officer. Within their position, Foster oversaw spending and work space at HUD.

In January 2017, Foster’s legal team says, she was required to “find money” for redecorating after Carson’s wife sought funds to purchase furniture. The total amount was thought to have exceeded the $5,000 legal limit, prompting Foster to voice her objection.

Craig Clemmensen, the designated acting secretary at that time, replied how the $5,000 “will not just get hold of a decent chair,” according to the complaint.

Foster also expressed concerns above the more than $10 million departmental shortfalls that took place under her predecessor at HUD.

Department officials reportedly also spent $31,000 with a new dining trying to find Carson’s office in late 2017.

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