The Department of Housing and Urban Development has confirmed that it purposely refused to send funds to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria destroyed the island in 2017.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson explained the department's reasoning during a congressional hearing Tuesday when he was pressed by Rep. Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y.

Velázquez asked Carson if anyone at the White House instructed HUD to withhold recovery funds from  Puerto Rico.

"A lot of what we do is dictated by common sense," Carson said.

He continued to say it's "unreasonable to send an unprecedented amount of money to a jurisdiction that had three changes of government within a month and which has historically had difficulties with financial management."

Velázquez interrupted Carson before he finished his explanation, saying that is not the question she asked.

"This is an abuse of power," Velázquez said. "It speaks to this administration's disregard for the people of Puerto Rico. Three thousand people died in Puerto Rico under your watch."



According to NBC News, Puerto Rico has so far received a third of the $43 billion Congress allocated for hurricane relief efforts.

Carson's comments during the hearing correlated with a statement he made in August regarding Puerto Rico's alleged corruption.

"Given the Puerto Rico government's alleged corruption, fiscal irregularities and mismanagement, we will appoint a Federal Financial Monitor to oversee the disbursement of all HUD disaster recovery funds," Carson said in the press release. "The Federal Financial Monitor's guidance, coupled with our new, improved financial controls, will ensure recovery funds get to the people who need them most and protect taxpayers who are footing the bill."

Velázquez reminded Carson about those comments and said it's Carson's administration who should be investigated for corruption.

"If this was about corruption, deal with your own corruption — when FEMA officials were arrested in Puerto Rico," Velázquez said.

The Trump Administration had also made similar comments in March to oppose funding to Puerto Rico.

“The Trump administration will not put taxpayers on the hook to correct a decades-old spending crisis that has left the island with deep-rooted economic problems,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere told NBC News in March.