Aside from the president himself, one of the more confusing and bewildering candidates of the 2016 election was that of Ben Carson. After dropping out of the race for the Republican bid for president, the former neurosurgeon remained close by, ultimately pledging his allegiance to Donald Trump. By supporting whatever outrageous rhetoric the president pushed forward, Carson became a top choice for a cabinet position, as he now sits as Secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). However, as with a seeming majority of Trump’s picks, Carson is now under review for the potential involvement of family members in the agency’s work.
Recently, HUD’s office of the inspector general opened up an investigation into a potential ethics issue, as Carson allowed his family members to be involved in a “listening tour,” raising concerns by the inspector general as to the extent of involvement his family may have played. According to a CNN report,
‘Carson called earlier this month for the inspector general to “review” the role his family played at the department after The Washington Post reported that HUD officials expressed ethics concerns about their role. Carson’s son and daughter-in-law helped organize a listening tour for the agency in Baltimore last summer.’
Comments from the HUD office of the inspector general have been minimal and direct, simply stating that the matter is currently open and under review, but that no further comment will be given until all of the facts are assembled and analyzed. Ethics officials began looking into the case when reports emerged that Carson’s son, Ben Carson Jr., a local businessman, may have been inviting personal clients to the event. Given the mixing of personal interests with governmental affairs, the actions would be considered unethical, leaving Carson in a difficult and controversial place.
The government should never be a money-generating opportunity for public officials or their families. We’re requesting an investigation into the role of Ben Carson’s son and wife at HUD.https://t.co/oBu7Bj5P8K
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) February 15, 2018
According to Secretary Carson, the concerns raised by HUD officials do not violate his oath to office, and that there has been no conflict of interest present in any of the agencies operations. Carson further claimed that his goal revolves around interacting and communicating with as many as people as possible, and given the nature of HUD’s obligations to the general public, wants to ensure that all relevant individuals have had their troubles heard.
Is Ben Carson’s family using his government position for their own personal gain? We’re asking the Inspector General to investigate.https://t.co/CyqKPh9AQR
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) February 19, 2018
An internal memo that was released publicly outlines that the HUD’s lawyers had previously warned Carson that the involvement of his son may present a violation of federal ethics regulations, and was further reiterated by the deputy general counsel of the department. The latter official, Linda Cruciani, had reportedly left her meeting with Carson under the assumption that the two aforementioned family members would not be participating in any aspect of the listening tour.
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SCANDALS https://t.co/UrdFiWq1bx
— Diana Strong (@Dianastrong2011) February 19, 2018
With Trump’s designated officials and cabinet secretaries increasingly coming under fire for an array of ethics violations, this not only calls into question the legitimacy of Trump’s decisions, but furthermore the broader corruption which may be occurring throughout the administration. Perhaps Trump is not as adept as choosing the best people, as he so boastfully claimed on the campaign trail.
1. EPA chief Scott Pruitt spent $1,641 for 1-hour flight from DC to NYC.
2. VA Secy. David Shulkin spent $4,000 to fly his wife to Europe.
3. FCC Chair Ajit Pai is in bed with Sinclair Broadcasting.
4. Ben Carson has brought his entire family into HUD.https://t.co/3Z4AQCz9VW
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) February 19, 2018
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