TPM: The White House held meetings last month with four cabinet officials who have been the subjects of reports highlighting ethics questions, CNN reported Friday night, citing unnamed officials familiar with the meetings.
Officials in the White House counsel’s office and the cabinet liaison met with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, according to CNN.The White House officials warned the cabinet leaders that even if their behavior is technically legal, it could still create bad optics, per CNN.
Zinke has come under scrutiny for his plane travel and reported spending on a $139,000 office door. Pruitt also faces scrutiny of his expensive travel habits, most recently his decision to fly first class for security reasons.
Carson cancelled an order for a $30,000 dining set for his office suite following reports revealing that the agency purchased the expensive new furniture, and he has faced allegations from HUD employees who are fearful that they will face retribution if they push back on agency orders. Shulkin was scolded for telling Politico that he had permission to purge employees who he felt were out to get him, according to CNN.