Oct 20, 2018, 10:43 AM ET

Official resigns after Interior says HUD Secretary Ben Carson sent 'false information' about staffing change

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A Housing and Urban Development official caught up in a controversy involving HUD Secretary Ben Carson and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has resigned, a HUD spokesman said Friday.

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The Interior Department had said Thursday that Carson spread "false information" in an email that the HUD political appointee, Suzanne Israel Tufts, was going to become Interior's internal watchdog, raising questions about whether the Trump administration was trying to undercut investigations into Zinke.

Democrats and watchdog groups had complained after an email from Carson to HUD staff last Friday, obtained by ABC News, said Tufts, an assistant secretary for administration at HUD, was leaving to become acting inspector general at Interior.

Friday evening, a HUD spokesman, Raffi Williams, emailed reporters saying, "Assistant Secretary Tufts has offered her resignation and it has been accepted. Secretary Carson thanks her for her service to the Administration and the country. We wish her all the best."

No other details were provided. Attempts to reach Tufts have been unsuccessful.

PHOTO: HUD Plaza outside the headquarters building of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, D.C.Getty Images
HUD Plaza outside the headquarters building of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, D.C.

The watchdog groups had joined Democrats in raising questions about whether Tufts, as a political appointee with no specific experience in government oversight, should be nominated for a job where she could quash current investigations into Zinke.

Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift said in an email Thursday that multiple news stories reporting Tufts was slated to be nominated to take over the inspector general's office at Interior are not true.

"This is a classic example of the media jumping to conclusions and reporting before all facts are known," Swift said in the email.

"Ms. Tufts was referred to the Department by the White House as a potential candidate for a position in the Inspector General’s office. At the end of the day, she was not offered a job at Interior," Swift said. The exact timing wasn't clear, though, and Swift did not immediately respond to a request for details.

PHOTO: The Department of Interior headquarters building is pictured as the Magnolia trees blossom in Washington, Mar. 13, 2016.J.David Ake/AP, FILE
The Department of Interior headquarters building is pictured as the Magnolia trees blossom in Washington, Mar. 13, 2016.

The White House, which nominates inspectors general and can reassign senior officials, has not responded to questions.

A spokeswoman from the Interior inspector general's office said they have not received any information about a possible staffing change and Swift said deputy inspector general Mary Kendall is still in her job.

News - Official resigns after Interior says HUD Secretary Ben Carson sent 'false information' about staffing change

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CComments

  • Red Hawk

    More proof history will judge this administration as the most corrupt in US history

  • ogrot

    Ben Carson is taking the MBS approach of firing his inner circle to avoid being fired for hatching half baked schemes that backfire.

  • ReviewTheFacts

    Sounds like it should have been Carson who resigned, spreading false information. Isn't that obstruction of justice?

  • Forward forward

    Donald Trump makes Nixon look honest, GW Bush look smart, and Bill Clinton look like Mother Teresa. One result is that he has brought in a uniquely unqualified, incompetent, and corrupt administration. As many 'Worst Ever....' awards Mr Trump himself has earned (many of them will never be surpassed), the rest of his administration is at least as bad.

  • Forward forward

    Everybody in the Trump administration lies, all the time, often for no reason. I think that pathological lying is one of the job requirements. Trump likes people like himself.

  • LoveUSA

    How in the world does Ben Carson keep getting away with his inept and allegedly dishonest actions and odd decisions?
    What goes on in his head?
    It’s very strange.

  • fmd160

    "Ms. Tufts was referred to the Department by the White House as a potential candidate for a position in the Inspector General’s office. At the end of the day, she was not offered a job at Interior," Swift said.

    That was the biggest stupid decision of this entire mess.

  • tet1953

    I can't say that this is the most corrupt administration in our history. I suspect it is though. I can say it is the most corrupt of my lifetime, and my first president was Harry Truman (for a couple days).

  • Jake real Jake

    Liars in Trump's cabinet false information oh no never happens say it aint so.

  • Oziris

    Ben Carson once appeared an upstanding, honorable, honest and humble guy. I met him once at a book signing. He's totally opposite the person I remember. Guess the rightwing greed bug snared him too.

  • TexasVulcan

    What a shocker. Trump appointing someone to a position they are absolutely unqualified for...

  • Truthfully

    I don't remember having these situations coming up in the prior administration. No matter how hard the republicans tried.

    Now we find out that after the mid terms the republicans are going after social security and medicare to pay for their top 1% tax cuts. WOW that really helps the average AMERICAN People!

    Vote Out all republican enablers!

    Make America Prosperous Again to the AVERAGE American!

  • Sonora Nomad

    The ...ahem...'cream'...just keeps rising to the top in The Trump's Admin. /s

  • OliverWendellSr

    Raul Grijalva, Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee:

    "Secretary Zinke and the Interior Department are awash in wave after wave of scandal and corruption, and they decide now is the perfect time to get rid of the current IG. After looking around, the best person they could find is a tRump political operative at HUD who turned a blind eye to Secretary Carson's $31,000 dining set."

  • 01denese

    Carson is an idiot. He needs to stick with having black velvet paintings made of himself with Jesus.

  • helicohunter

    More chaos. Just what the country needs.

  • dan

    Trump has done a fine job of draining the swamp the only problem for him is that the HONEST MEDIA points out with documentation and/or video to back themselves that he's been filling that same swamp with sewage.

  • Jane beard

    What do you expect when you put a brain surgeon in charge of HUD

  • Silverbird

    People were worried about political insiders running the government, now we get to see how the outsiders perform...

    All I'm saying is if you want things to run smoothly, you don't hire a dental hygienist to be your mechanic. I never understood why people feared those who knew what they were doing. Perhaps we just needed better mechanisms to oversee them and keep them from running amok.

  • Smedley D Butler

    Most corrupt administration since Nixon's. Yeah there are occasional corrupt Democrats, but corruption becomes institutionalized when some Republican President's sit in the White House. Now why is that?

  • j penske

    Whoever the official was that resigned, you did the right thing. After a while, you'll be a much happier person and will wonder why you ever worked in the Trump "administration".

  • ROBOTIX JONES

    Swamp man Ben.

  • Prophet With Honor

    Carson, three dwarfs for the price of one. Sleepy, Dopey, and Doc.

  • MisfitPatriot

    Is there a running list anywhere of all the ethics violation and possible corruption from the Trump Cabinet?

    I thought he was going to drain the swamp?

  • sameoldsame7

    It must be incredibly difficult to work for this man. He is such a flake. Like have a crazy grandpa that is really nice and you just let him do his stupid grandpa stuff because he is old and will soon be gone.

  • Ctrygrl

    I expect it was not false information when Ben sent it. The information only became false when someone found out about it and protested. Another cabinet secretary hung out to dry

  • Keith

    Well, at least the Democrats are doing what they can to exercise some oversight on the executive branch, since the Republicans have demonstrated so clearly that they have no intention of doing so.

    Democrats shine the light, and the cockroaches scatter.

  • FamilyGene

    The party of Idiot Obama talks about unqualified people taking high office ?

  • pksk531

    So what really happened? She was likely supposed to move over to Interior, but the email got out and had to be rescinded.

  • WorkingClass

    Someone in the Trump administration lied? I'm shocked, I tell ya! Shocked!

  • Forward forward

    When the Trump administration contradicts itself you might be tempted to ask 'Were you lying then, or are you lying now?" Unfortunately, with these guys, the correct answer is usually "Yes."

  • Forward forward

    This would have warranted three weeks of screaming headlines on Fox if Obama had done it. It is 10,574th on the list of Trump administration missteps.

  • Forward forward

    Whatever. The Trump administration never intentionally tells the truth anyway. Some of what they say is true, but only if they can't think up a good lie.

  • (((Rocket Cat)))

    Which is lying? At this point, who cares?
    VOTE!!

  • kritikosman

    His photo is on that rice box. #converted

  • jfranklin

    Come on trumpettes, say it with me

    DRAIN THE SWAMP

  • RohnertPark1

    Nothing surprises me anymore. Lets hope November's blue wave is a tsunami.

  • ArghONaut

    Just another corrupt day in a corrupt administration. Trump supporters continue to applaud and the republican party continues to salute. How low the country and the republicans have come in only 2 short years.

  • Educated

    Ben Carson is just another unqualified person in the Trump administration that had no business being appointed. Just like Trump should have never been nominated.

  • AppeaseThis

    A Trump administration inter-agency corruption foul up.

    Can we get back to infrastructure week?

  • Trumpet

    Don’t tell us, his wife is furniture shopping AGAIN!!!!