During his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday, housing and urban development secretary nominee Ben Carson faced a pointed line of questioning from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) regarding President-elect Donald Trump's potential conflicts of interest. During a press conference Wednesday — his first since July — Trump announced that with regard to his sprawling real estate business, he would not divest his ownership stake but would instead resign all positions. Ethics officials quickly pointed out that Trump's plan for his business was "wholly inadequate."
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is set to control a nearly $49 billion budget this fiscal year — one that, if confirmed, Carson will be tasked with dispensing toward the goal of revitalizing troubled neighborhoods and improving housing access. Warren pointed out that given Trump's continued financial stake in a real estate business, Carson could conceivably implement federal programs, using taxpayer money, that would result in dollars in the pocket of a President Trump:
Carson attempted to evade the question, saying he would not intentionally implement any programs that benefited any single American. At least, that's what he meant to say — as Vox's Matthew Yglesias pointed out, his stumbled a bit in making that point. Kimberly Alters