Looks like Ryan Zinke's getting some new office furniture. And maybe a Get Out of Jail Free Card, that lucky scamp! Because the Republican hack dispatched to disappear Ben Carson's furniture problem at HUD is getting shifted over to the Interior Department to (cough, cough) "supervise" the investigation into the Interior Secretary's multiple ethics problems. Will she saw them all in half and make them vanish in a puff of acrid, carcinogenic smoke? PROBABLY!

Remember back in February we told you about all that unpleasantness when Candy Carson wanted to spend $200,000 redecorating the office for her husband, HUD's Holy Housing Healer? But then mean Helen Foster, a career official at the agency, refused to sign off on anything over the legally allotted $5,000, even when they splained that Carson totally needed that $31,561 table. And then she refused to handle information requests about the Trump wedding planner's purge of Democrats "outside the normal FOIA processes," whatever that means. OMG, what a bitch, right?

Luckily, a member of the Carson posse did a little research and discovered that, during the Bush administration, there had been an Assistant Secretary for Administration who got to boss everyone around. And they had just the woman for the job! Enter Suzanne Israel Tufts, a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association, who had just provided invaluable services to the Trump Campaign as a "deployment leader" supervising the polls in Philadelphia. Whatever that means. So Candy and Ben got to decorate their office in a manner befitting God's Own Elect, and nothing was ever heard about those pesky furniture issues again.

Guess who's the new Inspector General at the Interior Department!

Why yes, it's Suzanne Israel Tufts who can waltz right in today, because she's already been confirmed by the Senate to another executive branch job. How clever of you to suss it out! And no, ethics investigations are NOT usually conducted by partisan political appointees with zero compliance or ethics experience, but here in Trumpland, the swamp drains you!

Naturally, the move has been handled with the professionalism and aplomb that marks every HR change in our current hellscape. Last week, Ben Carson sent a "Fond Farewall" email to staffers, announcing that Tufts would be leaving the agency for good to become Acting IG at Interior. But, as The Hill reports, Carson's spokesman called it a temporary move.

HUD spokesman Jereon Brown confirmed the move to The Hill Tuesday. He said Tufts is being detailed to the IG's office, which he said is a temporary move and that Tufts will remain a HUD employee. Brown said the move "happens" all the time.

Naturally, no one at Interior had heard the news, including the current Acting IG Mary Kendall, who has held the position for nine years, since the GOP claimed she lacked impartiality and refused to confirm her permanently. Kendall has been the deputy inspector general since 1999, i.e. for the entirety of the Bush and Obama administrations.


"The Office of Inspector General has received no official communication about any leadership changes," Nancy DiPaolo, a spokeswoman for the inspector general's office, said in a statement.

Asked who hired Tufts for the position, Faith Vander Voort, an Interior Department spokeswoman, referred the question to the White House. "The position of the Inspector General has been vacant for about ten years," Vander Voort said in an email. "This is a presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed position, which would be announced by the White House."

The White House, which has not announced that Tufts was nominated for the permanent position of inspector general, did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Thanks, WaPo! That clears it all up.

To which Raul Grijalva, Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee replied, "Add it to the pile, motherfuckers." Basically.

"Secretary Zinke and the Interior Department are awash in wave after wave of scandal and corruption, and they decide now is the perfect time to get rid of the current IG. After looking around, the best person they could find is a Trump political operative at HUD who turned a blind eye to Secretary Carson's $31,000 dining set," Grijalva said in a statement to The Hill.

"President Trump keeps warning people that if Democrats get control of Congress, all you'll see is investigations and subpoenas. Well, somebody's got to do it."

Good luck with that, IG Tufts! Looks like your time in the barrel is coming.

[The Hill / WaPo]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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