Carson testified before the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday to discuss the purchase.
He also said his wife is not involved in any other spending decisions at HUD.
Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, told a House committee on Tuesday he failed to adhere to a $5,000 federal spending cap for the purchase of a $31,000 lavish mahogany dining room set for his office out of concern for safety - not for decorative purposes.
"I was told that traditionally secretaries redecorate their offices, I came in I looked at it", Carson said.
So he asked Candy Carson to help with the redecoration efforts. "You know, I'm not really big into decorating". The next thing that I quite frankly heard about it was this $31,000 table had been bought. "I said, 'What the heck is that all about?' Investigated, immediately had it canceled - not that we don't need the furniture, but I thought that that was excessive".
Carson also said he wasn't aware of the cost until it emerged in the news.
Several days after the purchase was unearthed, Carson announced he canceled the order and "made it known [he] was not happy about the prices being charged" in the catalogs his wife was perusing.
Mr. Carson, appearing before Congress for the first time since the purchaseof the table, chairs and hutch was made public, appeared annoyed when a Democrat at the hearing suggested that he was guilty of "ethical lapses" and turning over key decisions to members of his family.
The decorating expenses have been a subject of controversy after a whistleblower filed a complaint that she was pressured to approve spending to redecorate Carson's office that was higher than the $5,000 legal limit. In comments flagged CBS reporter Katie Watson, Carson said the final decision was left up to her.
The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee has oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development budget. Rep. Trey Gowdy, the committee's chairman, sent Carson's staff a letter in late February demanding documents about office furnishings and an explanation for the $31,000 purchase. Carson did call his wife Candy "the most frugal person in the world".
Despite Carson's blame game, emails dating back to August show both he and his wife chose the table, according to a message to his assistant referring to "printouts of the furniture the Secretary and Mrs. Carson picked out", CNN reported.
"I wasn't that concerned about furniture". "All the numbers and evidence are being gathered and a full disclosure is forthcoming".
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