HUD Official Resigns From ‘Do-Nothing’ Job Over Ben Carson’s Redecoration Spending
Drain the swamp? Definitely don’t overhaul the office — or at least, that’s what one career official in the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency said in her resignation letter.
Citing a retaliatory demotion and social media chastising, Helen Foster, HUD’s former chief administrative officer, has resigned from her job, according to The Washington Post.
In an open letter to Secretary Ben Carson and HUD Deputy Secretary Pam Patenaude, Foster claims she was demoted to a “do-nothing” job and called a “liar” on social media for expressing concerns about office redecoration expenditures and possible violations of open-records laws. She also wrote that Carson has “grossly mismanaged” more than $10 million in taxpayer dollars.
A HUD spokesperson declined to comment on the allegations. Foster’s claims are under review by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.
As previously reported by the Post, Foster has been trying to cap Carson’s spending for some time. In emails from 2017 that were made public by a Freedom of Information Act request, Foster noted she had to repeatedly answer questions about why she would not fund redecoration plans over $5,000. “I do like 3 meetings a day on that. I hate it,” she wrote.
However, such expenditures above the $5,000 threshold require congressional notification. But Foster says her boss was undeterred and told her, “$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair,” according to reporting by The Guardian earlier this year.
Carson faces pressure on several fronts. Last month, civil rights groups announced they are suing the Trump Administration for its failure to uphold the Fair Housing Act. Groups named HUD and Carson in the suit.