HUD Secretary Ben Carson has found himself in the midst of a PR disaster.
After Secretary Carson sent out an email touting Suzanne Tufts’ appointment as the new acting head Inspector General at the Dept. of Interior, Tufts has been taken out of the running for that job, and she’s resigned her position at HUD.
Jumping the Gun
Clearly, there was a massive communications breakdown in Carson’s office.
Last Friday, Carson sent out an email announcing Tufts, who was serving as Assistant HUD Secretary, would be leaving the agency to take over as the “acting Inspector General” in the Interior Department.
When the news was leaked, it caused concern on a variety of levels.
First and foremost, there was the lack of investigative work in government oversight on Tufts’ resume.
Tufts was an appointee with a resume of working on the Trump campaign as well as being an attorney.
Those are not exactly the criteria one would think relevant to the role of Inspector General.
The Interior Department was then flooded with requests from the media and responded in kind.
Interior spokesperson Heather Swift was quick to throw Carson under the bus over the email.
She stated Carson’s email had incorrect information in it.
Swift also stated that while Tufts had been considered as a possible candidate, she was never actually offered any position with the Interior Department.
Democrats saw the blood in the water here and attacked aggressively.
Since the IG is currently looking into the conduct of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, some saw this as a way to thwart that investigation.
Others used it as a way to go after Carson, someone who has regularly come under fire for his lack of political experience.
Rep. Paul Grijalva stated, “If the Interior Department’s explanation is that Secretary Carson doesn’t know what his own staff are doing, they should explain whether Ms. Tufts is needed at HUD or not.”
He continued, “What is her job there? Either way, nobody is buying this explanation and we’re not going to stop pressing for answers.”
With Tufts’ resignation, it would appear as though those questions were answered.
In the meantime, current Acting Inspector General Mary Kendall will continue her investigation into Zinke.