WASHINGTON — A Department of Housing and Urban Development employee says she was demoted after she refused to comply with a request from the acting agency head that she “find money” for a costly remodeling of future HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s office.

A HUD document shows the agency spending $31,561 on a dining set.

In response, HUD says only blinds were purchased for Carson’s office and were within a $5,000 limit. The agency says the dining set was considered “a building expense” rather than a decoration and was not ordered by Carson or for his office.

Helen Foster filed the complaint alleging retaliation with the federal agency that handles whistleblower complaints.

Foster also alleges that she was barred from processing two requests for public documents because of her perceived political affiliation.