Auditing the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is like draining the septic tank: it needs to be done, but you won’t like what you find. The WaPo reports that HUD just added another scandal to a forty-six year tradition:
At a joint housing and oversight hearing of the House Financial Services Committee, the former HUD inspector general and the acting deputy inspector general described long-standing breakdowns within HUD’s HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which awards grants to state and local governments to develop affordable housing.
The program does not aggressively monitor or track thousands of local construction projects, putting federal money at risk and opening the door to fraud, the officials testified.
It’s much easier for federal agencies to write checks than to make sure they’re spent well. According to Acting Deputy Inspector General John McCarty, some of the perpetrators of the fraud had been planning on duping HUD all along, because they knew that it was easy to dupe. After all, HUD has even laxer standards than Fannie and Freddie.The fact that con-artists know HUD is an easy target speaks volumes about the department. HUD has refused to learn from its history and therefore has been condemned to repeat it. None of this is surprising, but at least the congressional hearing reminds us that something is wrong.The biggest puzzle: why more Democrats don’t care that the federal agency charged with helping poor people get affordable housing works so badly. Surely the Congressional Black Caucus should be out there denouncing the fraud, organizing poor people to demonstrate against the thievery and generally working to make sure every precious dollar appropriated to help the poor actually got to its destination…Yet there is a silence: CBC, ACORN, MORE, the unions, the establishment media. Nobody on the left seems to care very much about an institutionalized rip-off of some of the neediest people in our society. It’s almost as if there is some kind of persistent and powerful invisible force at work warping public programs, weakening accounting standards, and stealing money from both taxpayers and the poor. If Via Meadia weren’t convinced otherwise, we might almost suspect that endemic political corruption in many big city machines, winked at and perhaps participated in by local and national elected officials, systematically perverts these programs and fights any effort to expose corruption that benefits powerful players.But that can’t be true. This is America, after all. And the left, unlike those evil red state racists and hillbillies, truly cares. Right?