Ben Carson gave cushiest jobs to loyal campaign aides with no experience


HUD Secretary Ben Carson was doling out political favors instead of serving the most vulnerable Americans.

Trump's Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) gave the agency's highest-paying jobs to inexperienced loyalists of Secretary Ben Carson and Trump, even as the agency tried to triple the rent on the poorest Americans.

According to a new report from The Washington Post, 24 of the agency's most lucrative political appointments — with annual salaries ranging from $94,000.00 to $160,000 — went to people "without evident housing policy experience."

And five of those operatives, all of whom worked on either Trump's or Carson's presidential campaigns, were given promotions and pay raises "within their first months on the job."

According to the exhaustive report, which relied on public records requests and other publicly available information, the cronyism extended well beyond those five, as well:

Of the 24 Trump administration HUD appointees without housing policy experience on their résumés or LinkedIn profiles, 16 listed work on either Carson's or Trump's presidential campaigns — or had personal connections to their families.

The report reveals that one of the hires in question, Ben Hobbs, spearheaded HUD's plan to triple the rent on poor people receiving federal housing subsidies. Hobbs' LinkedIn profile lists things like "Graduate Fellow, Welfare Studies" at the right-wing Heritage Foundation, but nothing that suggests expertise in housing policy. Carson later abandoned the planned rent hikes.

Other HUD staffers with six-figure salaries and campaign connections include Lynne Patton, the former Trump campaign adviser and family friend who made news when she attacked White House correspondent April Ryan, calling her "Miss Piggy." According to the Post, Patton's salary is $160,000 per year.

Carson has also previously named the son of a close friend as his deputy chief of staff, and was the subject of an investigation looking into his habit of putting family members in charge of official agency business.

The revelations about HUD are just the latest evidence that Trump and the heads of his scandal-plagued agencies care a great deal about enriching themselves and their friends, and very little about the people they're supposed to serve.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.