The mainstream media seems poised to never allow President Trump to succeed, but it is impossible to deny the failures of former President Obama.
Reports circulated earlier this year after an audit of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reported almost $520 billion in fraud, waste, and accounting errors. The half a trillion dollars in waste and fraud mounted under the Obama administration, and the corruption was only revealed after Dr. Ben Carson was appointed to lead the department, according to the Daily Wire.
The Office of the Inspector General for HUD reported in March that they were unable to complete their audit of the Housing Department due to widespread discrepancies in addition to the $520 billion in accounting errors.
The Inspector General said they were unable to make an opinion on the finances of HUD due to seven significant deficiencies, eleven material weaknesses, and five errors resulting from ignoring laws and regulations.
Critics of President Trump and the Republican party attempted to undermine the Inspector General’s findings. So-called fact checkers at USA Today attempted to downplay Secretary Ben Carson’s role in the investigation. They point out that the audit began in December – three months before Carson’s appointment.
While Ben Carson did not initiate the annual audit, he does deserve credit for exposing the findings of the Inspector General while taking steps to address the problem. The Inspector General has been reporting the same structural problems for the last four years – yet their findings only received media attention after Carson took control of the department.
The Obama administration downplayed HUD audits and failed to report the Inspector Generals findings to the public. HUD made no attempts to adjust their accounting practices in the wake of the scathing reports until after the election of President Trump.
So, the USA Today fact checkers are correct that Ben Carson did not launch the investigation, however, they are wrong to downplay the importance of the audit and Ben Carson’s unique approach of actually fixing the errors revealed by the Inspector General.
The Inspector General’s report explains that the billions in accounting errors “were due to an inability to establish a compliant control environment, implement adequate financial accounting systems, retain key financial staff, and identify appropriate accounting principles and policies.” Even after obtaining an extension to complete their audit, errors in HUD accounting practices prevented a full appraisal.
HUD’s spokesman Brian Sullivan told reporters at The Daily Caller that “HUD does apply generally accepted accounting standards,” in contradiction to the findings of the audit. Since 2012 HUD has ignored 63 of the Inspector General’s recommendations to solve their accounting errors.
Brian Bergman, from government watchdog Truth in Accounting, is concerned about HUD’s failure to conform to appropriate accounting standards. “HUD is a symptom of an inability to learn from history that we keep paying a price for,” says Bergman. “That’s something you could fix or you should be able to fix and it’s problematic that they haven’t. It may suggest not only an inability but perhaps an unwillingness to do this, which is perhaps more concerning.”