American Thinker, May 22, 2017
Yet another deadline in a congressional investigation into wrongdoing at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has passed without movement. HUD’s failure to provide all documents requested by Congress is disappointing because it stalls an ongoing investigation of improper salary payments to HUD officials who obstructed an inquiry into improprieties in HUD’s handling of housing fraud lawsuits against the city of St. Paul, Minn. Action on the part of Secretary Carson on this front is a key test of President Trump’s promise to restore good government. Fortunately, HUD’s scheduling of a long overdue briefing to Congress today may represent progress on this score.
St. Paul had been accused of making false certifications on HUD community development grant applications that illegally funneled $62 million into its coffers. This week’s briefing, however, focuses on HUD’s efforts to stonewall a related current investigation of unlawful salary payments to two senior HUD officials who ordered department employees not to speak to congressional investigators during a now concluded earlier probe.
HUD had inappropriately dropped its support for a whistleblower lawsuit against the city that provided a promising opportunity to recover up to $200 million for U.S. taxpayers. HUD did St. Paul this favor in exchange for the city withdrawing Magner v. Gallagher, a pending Supreme Court case that jeopardized a legal doctrine HUD wanted to continue to use as a coercive tool against state and local governments to expand the scope of federal authority in national housing policy.
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