FSC Majority | Week in Review
Posted by Staff on February 06, 2015
Subcommittee Examines Legal and Ethical Violations at HUD

The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee heard testimony at its hearing on Wednesday that senior officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development broke federal law and faced minor consequences for various ethical and legal violations.

In its coverage of the hearing testimony, the Washington Post reported the alleged violations include financial fraud, sexual harassment, nepotism and conflicts of interest.

"I want to make clear to committee members that these are different allegations against different employees in different departments and divisions responsible for very different tasks, but they seem to display the same cavalier attitude that shows these employees do not believe in following the rules and they do not care about getting caught. And when they do get caught, they do not care that they are obstructing an investigation or Congress," said Subcommittee Chairman Sean Duffy (R-WI). "It’s an attitude I think Americans are learning is prevalent throughout this Administration. And it’s an attitude I think we’re quickly getting tired of."

The Washington Times noted in its coverage of the hearing that, among various violations, HUD officials violated federal law by using taxpayer money to lobby Congress for increased HUD funding.

A witness from the Government Accountability Office told the Subcommittee that her agency concluded HUD officials violated federal law by engaging in “indirect or grassroots lobbying” when they urged individuals at organizations that receive HUD funding to contact members of Congress regarding HUD’s pending appropriations bill. 

A report issued last year from HUD’s Inspector General into this same matter also revealed that HUD officials attempted to cover up their illegal lobbying activity by obstructing the investigation.

NOTE: Coming to your e-mail inbox on Sunday afternoon -- this week’s Video Message will include some highlights of the Subcommittee’s hearing, with appearances by Chairman Sean Duffy and Reps. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Bruce Poliquin (R-ME).


Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick | Fitzpatrick bill protects small businesses, families, taxpayers

No matter how well intentioned the more than 2,000 pages of Dodd-Frank regulations — and tens of thousands of other federal rules — there is always room to be made more effective and responsible. This is what the CLO provisions in Fitzpatrick’s bill (as well as the 10 other bipartisan measures) do: They work to protect consumers while letting small banks and businesses do their job. Why then a sudden uproar when Congress considered Fitzpatrick’s bill? Rep. Fitzpatrick’s colleague from across the aisle, and the Delaware River, Rep. John Carney (Del.) even offered this about the bill: “The provisions in this bill have passed Congress overwhelmingly in years past. Only now has it become distorted and mischaracterized for political purposes.”

Weekend Must Reads

Gallup | The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment

I hear all the time that "unemployment is greatly reduced, but the people aren't feeling it." When the media, talking heads, the White House and Wall Street start reporting the truth -- the percent of Americans in good jobs; jobs that are full time and real -- then we will quit wondering why Americans aren't "feeling" something that doesn't remotely reflect the reality in their lives. And we will also quit wondering what hollowed out the middle class.

Palm Beach Post | 3 Ways to Level the Economic Playing Field

Many longstanding federal and state policies privilege some businesses and not others. This tilted playing field isn’t just unfair; it’s grossly inefficient. It undermines competition, discourages innovation, and prompts businesses to expend billions of dollars in socially wasteful efforts to win the favor of politicians. But it need not be this way. A serious agenda to level the economic playing field appeals to both the progressive impulse to stick up for the powerless and the conservative urge to check government’s scope and power.

Investor's Business Daily | Collapsing Homeownership Proves Folly Of Federal Housing Policies

The government's homeownership scheme, like so much of what the meddling do-gooders inside the Beltway do, was viewed as grand and noble — until it all came crashing down on everyone. They turned the American Dream into a nightmare. But the social engineers never learned their lesson. In fact, they're doubling down on their mistakes.

    On the Horizon 

February 11, 2015 10:00 a.m.
Full Committee Hearing

"The Future of Housing in America: Oversight of the Federal Housing Administration"

  In the News

Washington Examiner | Housing projects use tax dollars to lobby for more tax dollars

Washington Times | Millions in HUD money went to lobbying, not housing

Fiscal Times | HUD Execs Flagged for Ethics, Lobbying Violations

Washington Post | Va. Democrat official accused of lobbying violation while in federal government 

Foreign Policy | How Dodd-Frank Is Failing Congo 

American Banker | Luetkemeyer Tries Again on Anti-Choke Point Bill 

Business Wire | CAGW Announces 2014 Porker of the Year Nominees

Detroit News | Editor’s Note: Who’s watching the watchdog?

Kentucky Educational Television | Rep. Andy Barr: One to One from Washington  

Washington Post | The diminishing returns of today’s homeownership policies

Investor's Business Daily | Watt Moves To Take Fannie, Freddie Off Sound Credit Standard

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