The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s inspector general is reportedly looking into the role that Secretary Ben Carson’s family has played at the agency, CNN reported Tuesday.
There is an “open matter” according to HUD IG spokesman Darryl Madden, the news network reported. The investigation comes after HUD officials expressed ethics concerns about the extensive involvement that his family members – especially his son, Benjamin Jr. – played in official HUD business, including the scheduling of an agency listening tour in Baltimore.
From the CNN report:
Asked Tuesday by CNN whether HUD's Inspector General has opened an investigation into the role Carson's family has played at the department, HUD IG spokesman Darryl Madden said there is "an open matter."
"We have an open matter," Madden said. "However, it is our policy not to comment any further during its pendency."
Madden declined to clarify the statement, responding to follow-up questions by saying: "We are standing by the statement."
HUD spokesman Jereon Brown referred questions on the investigation's launch to the inspector general's office. "We have nothing to add to the previous statement requesting the investigation," Brown said in an email.
CNN also reported that Carson was warned by HUD lawyers that his son’s participation might violate federal ethics rules. Linda Cruciani, the department's deputy general counsel, raised those concerns directly with Carson, according to an internal memo released publicly via the Freedom of Information Act.
"I expressed my concern that this gave the appearance that the Secretary may be using his position for his son’s private gain," Cruciani said in the memo.
Earlier this month, Carson called for the inspector general to review the role his family played at HUD following reports about his family’s involvement at the agency.
"In my role as HUD secretary, I try to be as inclusive as possible and talk with a wide variety of people because when it comes to increasing access to affordable housing, no rock should remain unturned," Carson said. "From my very first day at HUD I have insisted that HUD operate in an open and ethical manner, in every way. To clear up any suspicion I am calling for the HUD inspector general to review this matter."