Pallone Wants Answers on CMS Contract Awarded to Secretary Carson’s Daughter-in-Law
Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) sent a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma today requesting answers following troubling press reports that a contract was awarded to a consulting company owned by Merlynn Carson, the daughter-in-law of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, without undergoing a competitive bidding process.
Merlynn Carson is the CEO of Myriddian, a consulting firm based in Maryland. Ms. Carson’s husband, Ben Carson, Jr., the son of Secretary Carson, sits on the company’s board. According to press reports, CMS awarded a $485,000 contract to Myriddian without a competitive bidding process following efforts by Carson, Jr. and Merlynn Carson to invite Administrator Verma to attend a HUD event in Baltimore that Carson, Jr. was involved in organizing.
“These reports raise concerns that CMS’s contracting process is potentially being abused and that Trump Administration officials and their family members may be receiving special treatment at the expense of the American taxpayers,” Pallone wrote to Administrator Verma.
As part of his inquiry on the Myriddian contract, Pallone is requesting documents from CMS pertaining to the Myriddian contract as well as answers to a series of questions, including:
- To what extent has CMS conducted oversight of the process by which the Agency awards federal contracts? Have any violations of applicable regulations, policies, and procedures pertaining to conflicts of interest been identified, and, if so, what actions were taken in response?
- Did any CMS personnel raise concerns internally about the awarding of the Myriddian contract to a company operated by family members of a Cabinet-level official?
- Provide all communications between CMS officials and HUD Secretary Carson, Ben Carson, Jr., or Merlynn Carson pertaining to the Myriddian contract and its awarding.
- Provide all communications between CMS officials and employees or hired representatives of Myriddian pertaining to the Myriddian contract and its awarding.
A copy of the letter is available HERE.