Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, having spent $31,000 on a dining set for his office, is currently holding Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s beer as Zinke draws attention for the $139,000 worth of doors for his office.
The award to Maryland-based Conquest Solutions LLC was first reported by the Associated Press. The work involves replacing three sets of double doors, including two that open onto a balcony and leak during rain storms, the AP reported. An existing set of doors to Zinke’s office from a hallway do not have a lock, so the security will be upgraded with the new doors.
Zinke’s spokesperson borrowed from Carson’s spokesperson in responding to media questions on how this happens: Zinke was not aware of the cost, she said, and then blamed it on the general shoddiness of the building and government bureaucracy.
Swift said the work is part of a “decade-long modernization of the historic FDR-era building.”
“Between regulations that require historic preservation and outdated government procurement rules, the costs for everything from pencils to printing to doors is astronomical. This is a perfect example of why the Secretary believes we need to reform procurement processes.”
It’s possible that government procurement rules do need to be reformed, but it sure is interesting how Trump cabinet member after Trump cabinet member demonstrates this need for reform by spending outrageous amounts of money on things that Obama cabinet members lived with for years. And can you imagine the Republican outcry if Obama’s interior secretary had followed up Obama’s HUD secretary’s $31,000 dining set with $139,000 in doors? Especially when said interior secretary has already faced scrutiny for a habit of chartering flights rather than flying commercial, and just keeps happening to charter those flights to important government business in the same places as Republican donors are gathering. (But her emails!)
Let’s be clear, though: Ryan Zinke’s real scandal is what he’s doing to public lands.