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Emails on Carson's office decor hint at HUD unrest

Mar 01, 2018 - The Washington Post

A week before Ben Carson was confirmed as secretary of Housing and Urban Development, a career official at the agency complained to a colleague about the hours she had to spend curtailing plans to redecorate his office.

Helen Foster, then HUD's chief administration officer, wrote in an email that she had to answer "endless questions about why I won't fund more than the $5000 limit" for redecorating the office. "I do like 3 meetings a day on that," she wrote on Feb. 22, 2017. "I hate this."

Foster was transferred to a new position in July, and she later told a watchdog agency that she believed she was demoted in retaliation for concerns she expressed about office expenses and potential violations of open-records laws. Foster said she had been excluded from handling Freedom of Information Act requests filed by the Democratic National Committee - even though she oversaw department FOIA responses - because one of President Trump's appointees believed she was a De...