MAY 31, 2012
For the second time in just a few months a U.S. government agency notorious for wasteful spending is dedicating tens of millions of dollars to help local communities blow their federal money more efficiently.
It may sound like a bad joke but it’s business as usual at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the bloated agency that’s given leftist groups millions of dollars to provide low-income populations and minorities with “housing counseling.” Read more about that in a Judicial Watch report published just days ago.
This month HUD awarded $70 million in grants to help communities and nonprofit organizations use their taxpayer dollars more efficaciously. The agency announcement justifies the allocation by explaining that the nation is in a “budget climate where state and local governments are challenged to do more with less.” This evidently requires millions to help communities and nonprofit organizations “improve their use of federal funds to revitalize neighborhoods, help the homeless and produce more affordable housing.”
Here is how HUD’s Assistant Secretary, Mercedes Marquez explains it: The cash will complement a program to help communities “ensure that scarce federal dollars are targeted to where they are needed most and can achieve the highest impact.” As a result the money will go a long way toward meeting the agency’s goals of community development, affordable housing and homeless assistance, Marquez added.
The $70 million comes on the heels of a separate $20 million HUD allocation for pretty much the same cause. In that announcement HUD asserted that the money would help “improve performance and boost the capacity of state and local governments to implement their federal block grant programs for housing and community development.” Marquez made a similar statement about stretching federal dollars for the greatest possible benefit to the public.
This sort of thing is par for the course at HUD. Under Obama the agency has launched a number of controversial programs, including a special initiative to help illegal immigrants nationwide. HUD also intervened against Arizona’s strict immigration control law by warning that federal housing obligations prohibit “discrimination against protected class members.” HUD also deployed its assistance secretary to intercept a Fremont Nebraska measure banning illegal aliens from renting in its jurisdiction.
HUD has also been embroiled in a huge scandal surrounding federal grants awarded to the famously corrupt Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN). In 2009 Judicial Watch sued the agency for the records and in 2010 a HUD Inspector General report revealed that ACORN embezzled millions of dollars for “housing counseling” in one year alone and destroyed the documents to hide the fraud.
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