The Housing and Urban Development staffer who revealed Secretary Ben Carson's spending on office décor has resigned after being "demoted" to a position "with no official duties" for a full year, The Washington Post reports.
Helen Foster on Wednesday sent a letter to Carson and HUD Deputy Secretary Pam Patenaude criticizing her treatment after she exposed the department's $10 million budget shortfall and the secretary's spending far more than the $5,000 limit on office furniture.
"Even though I reported all of these issues appropriately, through the HUD chain of command, and with documentation, I was demoted into a made-up 'do-nothing' job with no duties or responsibilities by your direct reports," Foster wrote, according to the Post. "A full year has [passed] since, and I remain in the same spurious position with no official duties."
Foster filed a complaint with the special counsel's office claiming she was demoted in part due to her warning about the redecorations. According to emails released under the Freedom of Information Act, Foster repeatedly had to explain to her colleagues why she would not "fund more than the $5,000 limit," noting she has "three meetings a day on that."
Carson denied the criticism, which he called "character attacks" being made "without evidence or substantiation."
Foster wrote in her letter the secretary's response was "devastating to me, and to my career prospects as a public servant," adding "from my perspective, this was the head of my agency, my ultimate boss, and a Cabinet-level official, calling me a liar in public."
A department spokesperson declined to comment on Foster's accusations, telling the Post they involve personal matters and are being reviewed by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.
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