Saturday, February 3, 2018

Ben Carson is Only One of Many Crooks Working For Trump

Meanwhile, there's an actual scandal that could force Ben Carson to quit his job as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development:

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on Friday said that he and his family were "under attack by the media questioning our integrity and ethics," after reports shed light on the extensive involvement that his family members -- especially his son, Benjamin Jr. -- played in official business, despite strong warnings from agency lawyers.

"This week, my family and I have been under attack by the media questioning our integrity and ethics. I have openly asked for an independent investigation to rest these unfounded biases," Carson said in a statement posted to his social media accounts.

In the statement, he included the reference of a Bible verse, Exodus 14:14, which says: "The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent."

Earlier Friday, Carson said he was asking the department's inspector general to look into the issue, saying in a statement that his goal was "to listen and help the people of Baltimore have access to safe affordable housing.

If you dive deep into this, it's pretty clear that Carson's son has cashed in on his access to the agency his father pretends to be running:

Internal HUD emails show meetings scheduled for Carson Jr. by HUD staff, including a May 25, 2017 scheduled meeting with "Ben Jr. and friends" in the secretary's dining room. Three months later, on August 15, HUD aide and longtime Trump associate Lynne Patton scheduled a "Dinner w/BJ & friends" to take place at DelMonico's Kitchen, even though Carson Jr. does not work for the agency.

The emails also suggest that Candy Carson, Ben Carson's wife, pushed for her son to meet with at least one Cabinet-level official. In May 2017, Sheila Greenwood, Carson's chief of staff, reached out to another HUD staffer regarding a meeting between Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Carson Jr., a meeting suggested by Candy Carson. Greenwood gave the HUD staffer the email address of Chao's chief of staff, saying that the person "would be able to connect BJ and the Secretary should you choose to pursue." 

The exchange appeared to give Carson Jr.'s access to a top-level official whose agency oversees an area relevant to his business interests. It is unclear whether Carson Jr. contacted Chao.

Carson Jr. is the chairman of Argo Systems LLC in Hanover, Maryland, a construction and engineering services firm. He is also the co-founder and partner of the Columbia, Maryland, based Interprise Partners, which according to the company's website focuses on "technologies and services related to Critical Infrastructure, Healthcare and Workforce Development."

This is excellent reporting. The two companies in question should be hauled in front of Congress and asked if they have profited from the fact that Carson's father is the Secretary of HUD. How much do you want to bet this won't happen as long as Republicans are in charge?

This is the sort of thing that Republicans would have absolutely screamed about if it had happened when President Obama was in office. The double standard at work here is bad enough, but for Carson to attack the media for reporting the facts, well, as I've already said, welcome to your brand new banana republic of a country. We're giving actual banana republics a run for their money nowadays.

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