The Curious Case of Ben Carson’s Aide: Was She Going to Interior or Not?
News emerged last week that HUD Secretary Ben Carson announced that Suzanne Tufts, a HUD official and Republican operative with no ethics review experience, would be moving to the Department of the Interior to take over as Inspector General. The move would put Tufts in charge of ethics probes at Interior, including the ethics investigations into Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke over his and his wife’s travels, political activities, and relations with industry groups. However, Interior Department officials on Friday said that they had not approved the hiring of Tufts and called the announcement by Carson “100 percent false information” -- effectively placing the blame over the noise surrounding Tufts’ move on Carson. Interior did admit that the White House had referred Tufts to it as a potential candidate for a position in the IG’s office. But Democrats are not convinced the administration is giving all of the details, and they want more details and insight about what Carson and Zinke knew. “This administration can’t stop embarrassing itself or keep its story straight for five minutes,” said Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), the Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee. “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. ... If they’re trying to shift blame for their latest scandal and backtrack while there’s still time, they should just say so. Either way, nobody is buying this explanation and we’re not going to stop pressing for answers.” More here.