Speed Reads

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Ben Carson doesn't want his $31,000 dining set after all

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson has canceled a pricey furniture order that raised eyebrows earlier this week, CNN reports. On Thursday, Carson's longtime adviser provided a statement exclusively to CNN in which Carson said he was "as surprised as anyone" to find out that the set — a $31,000 bundle including a table, hutch, and 10 chairs — had been requested for his office. "I have requested that the order be canceled," Carson said.

The order had come under scrutiny earlier this week, as The New York Times noted that HUD had appeared to request the $31,000 order late last year — "just as the White House circulated its plans to slash HUD's programs for the homeless, elderly, and poor." Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, had announced Wednesday that he was opening an investigation into whether the redecoration request constituted "excessive spending."

A HUD spokesman initially told the Times that while Carson did not know about the order before it was placed, the secretary was fine with the $31,000 price tag and did not intend to return the set. But in Thursday's statement, Carson said, "I made it known that I was not happy about the prices being charged and that my preference would be to find something more reasonable."