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Democrats Discuss: Corruption, willy-nilly

The current members of the presidential Cabinet have faced enormous criticism since many of them took office last year. Some of their most grievous acts, however, have been the careless handling of taxpayer money. 

The secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, recently purchased a dining set for his office that cost $31,000. His justification was that it was for safety reasons, citing a collapsed chair as evidence. He also blamed his wife, saying she chose the specific set for him. 

Carson was forced to testify on Capitol Hill because of the rule stating the House and Senate Appropriations Committees must be notified for a decorating expenditure of more than $5,000. This isn’t the first time that a member of President Donald Trump's has spent extraordinary amounts of taxpayer money on trivial things.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spent $139,000 to replace three sets of double-doors in his office. The head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, spent $120,000 on a trip to Italy with nine other agency officials. Pruitt spent another $25,000 to install a secure phone booth in his office, which none of the previous EPA leaders did.

Before being forced to resign, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price spent over $1 million on travel to other countries. Similarly, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin used taxpayer money to attend Wimbledon and took a cruise on the Thames River in between meetings with British and Danish officials.

Such extravagant, unwarranted spending is only costing taxpayers. Instead of putting the money toward beneficial initiatives, it’s being wasted on unnecessary flights and furniture. Should hard-earned taxpayer money be going toward government officials’ vacations?

The lack of accountability and callous behavior exemplified by these Cabinet members perfectly exhibits how out of touch they are with the American people. It is a new standard being set by the Trump administration that only further emphasizes its lack of concern for helping the American people to progress.

In the election, then-candidate Trump promised, “We are going to ask every department head and government to provide a list of wasteful spending projects that we can eliminate in my first 100 days.” Yet, only hypocrisy actually comes to fruition as Trump’s own Cabinet members carelessly spend taxpayer dollars without regard for the sacrifices Americans make to furnish such trips, dining sets, and doors.

In the 2016 election, Americans demanded change in the economy to improve their own lives — not the vacations of a government official. It’s time to hold these officials accountable and force them to end their lavish expenditures that betray the ideals of the Americans they represent.

Hunter Graffice is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What do you think of Cabinet members' spending? Let Hunter know by dropping a tweet @HunterGraffice4.

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