Waste, fraud, and abuse get bigger funding at HUD

posted at 1:00 pm on October 24, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Often during the health-care overhaul debate, we hear often hear that having the government in charge will allow bureaucrats and Congress to wring the “waste, fraud, and abuse” out of the American health-care system.  Their management of Medicare makes that claim laughable, of course, but it doesn’t help their cause when Congress pours more money into already-failing efforts elsewhere.  For instance, HUD has had its housing-counseling budget tripled and will raise it an additional 54% next year, while the program has a success rate of 23%, is already ridden with waste and abuse, and doesn’t address the real problem anyway (h/t William Amos):

Federal funding for a housing counseling program carried out by local non-profit groups such as ACORN has more than tripled since 2002, even though it has been criticized by government auditors for failing to show results.

President Obama’s budget calls for a 54% increase next year – $100 million in all – for the program, which helps people buy or refinance a home, prevent a foreclosure or find rental housing. The Senate agreed, while the House of Representatives suggested $70 million; final negotiations over the bill are pending.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has been unable to provide much proof the program works, according to government reports, despite an increase in funding from $20 million in 2002 to $65 million last year.

This must be a great program to go from $20 million to over $100 million in eight years, right?  Not exactly.  According to a study commissioned by HUD, counseling only helped 23% of the program’s clients stay in their homes — and that was in 2007, before the housing bubble burst.  A GAO audit also found that none of the counselors for the elderly on reverse-mortgage loans offered complete advice on the complicated issue.  Its Inspector General raised a huge red flag to Congress in 2006 over a lack of supervision and proper metrics on performance.  Despite all of this, Congress has consistently increased funding to HUD for the program, without demanding any concrete improvements in its delivery.

Who gets the money?  No one will be surprised by this:

None of the government reports singled out any groups that received federal funding for criticism. However, one of them – the ACORN Housing Corp. – drew national attention last month after conservative activists released undercover videos taken at several offices of ACORN affiliates, including in New York and Washington, where housing counselors gave advice on buying a house for a brothel. The employees worked for a program that gets HUD funding but were not paid with government funds, ACORN Housing spokeswoman Alyson Chadwick said.

Mead said in an e-mail that HUD has no way of knowing whether the workers caught on the videos were involved in government-funded programs.

Perhaps the ACORN employees on tape in six different offices didn’t get directly paid with HUD funds while they counseled undercover reporters on how to accomplish tax evasion and cover up a child-prostitution ring while purchasing a house with HUD-funded programs.  However, they certainly administered the program on behalf of HUD.  In fact, this demonstrates quite nicely the fact that HUD has exercised no supervision over the use of the funds or the advice given by community organizers acting as their proxies.

USA Today notes that HUD has begun to use “mystery shoppers” to explore problems in the reverse-mortgage counseling activities cited by the GAO as failing.  Wouldn’t James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles qualify as “mystery shoppers”, too?


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Where in government is ACORN not an influence?

OmahaConservative on October 24, 2009 at 1:03 PM

TY for the tip Ed.

This is really the epicenter of the financial collapse and Obama is setting a nuke off in the middle of weak tetonic plate.

The whole purpose of the “Blame Wall Street” was to freeze out fiancial institutions from having any say over the lefts “Gifts” of government money to groups like ACORN for helping them win elections.

Its the biggest scam/lobbing scandal in American history.

William Amos on October 24, 2009 at 1:05 PM

Who gets the money? No one will be surprised by this…

Just tryin’ to get that wealth back to those who created it, aren’t we?

ted c on October 24, 2009 at 1:05 PM

The adults are in charge…and giving away the country.

kingsjester on October 24, 2009 at 1:05 PM

Sheesh. You know, we’ve always half-jokingly said that any President is nothing but a figurehead, that we really don’t know who is actually pulling the strings.

I’m starting to get a real bad feeling that there is more to that than a frustrated joke. I am really starting to wonder if Obama is nothing more than a blithering sockpuppet to the “real” power, the ones who have propped him up and Messiahized his campaign, the Van Joneses and Cass Sunsteins of the world.

As I’ve said before, the radicals and maoists have been quietly laying the groundwork for decades. Now they have the keys, and will likely stop at nothing to accomplish their lifes work.

As Beck, Hannity, and The Boss dig out more and more, it will become increasingly more difficult for the HeadPatMedia to whitewash and ignore it, else they lose every last bit of credibility they have left. Eventually, they WILL say enough is enough, and start exploring more of this crap, hopefully sooner rather than later.

And as the light begins to shine on them ever more, they will become increasingly desperate, because they know that anything less than total victory now will set them back decades, if not permanently. I do not expect the radicals to fold their tent and go quietly into the night. This could get very bad before its over.

Buckle up, kids, this is gunna be one helluva ride!

JamesLee on October 24, 2009 at 1:19 PM

The Itch that keeps on Itching…I have a bad case of Acornitis

hawkman on October 24, 2009 at 1:25 PM

You mean help us get laid with low price import prostitutes? Is that power in Article I or II or the Constitution?

Mr. Joe on October 24, 2009 at 1:36 PM

This could get very bad before its over.

Buckle up, kids, this is gunna be one helluva ride!

JamesLee on October 24, 2009 at 1:19 PM

Sadly if it doesnt, then the America that the founding fathers created is dead and gone forever.

doriangrey on October 24, 2009 at 1:37 PM

$100 million to teach people how to sneak illegals over the border, hide underage hookers in a basement, and break into foreclosed homes.

Nice job, Ogabe, your priorities are being well settled.

Bishop on October 24, 2009 at 1:40 PM

What is housing “counseling” anyway? Go see a lawyer if you have legal question!

This is just a way of taking our tax dollars and converting them into campaign funds. Commissars award the money to community activists, who then do campaign work for Democrats.

We’re doomed.

PattyJ on October 24, 2009 at 1:41 PM

President is nothing but a figurehead
JamesLee on October 24, 2009 at 1:19 PM

This is the absolute truth. Obama is not some supernatural, mystical entity that controls everything. He is the face of these people behind the curtain.

Vince on October 24, 2009 at 1:49 PM

Often during the health-care overhaul debate, we hear often hear that having the government in charge will allow bureaucrats and Congress to wring the “waste, fraud, and abuse” out of the American health-care system.

May want to reword the sentence.

txag92 on October 24, 2009 at 1:55 PM

Our federal government can only do one thing. . . spend money. It doesn’t take any skill to spend the money, they don’t even have to account for the money, they just have to spend it.

Spending money is the only thing this government can do. We could save money as a nation if we didn’t waste so much on the government.

ThackerAgency on October 24, 2009 at 1:57 PM

For instance, HUD has had its housing-counseling budget tripled and will raise it an additional 54% next year, while the program has a success rate of 23%, is already ridden with waste and abuse, and doesn’t address the real problem anyway

And Turkmenbama cut military.

THANKS OBAMA VOTERS! YOU’VE DESTROYED OUR COUNTRY!!!

Gob on October 24, 2009 at 2:18 PM

Sometimes I think the war is over, and we lost.

Daggett on October 24, 2009 at 2:53 PM

Clinton was forced into Welfare reform.

That is where our economic recovery will come from. I think the Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and Whites need to learn that you will only get what you work for.

A simple message. The election of Obama certainly should empower Black Americans to acheive all that they work for. Hispanics, Asians and Whites and all others in between should know that anything they set their minds to is acheivable. Anything. You. Set. Your. Mind. To. Is. Achievable.

Enough with the crapass entitlements. Get to work. Make your own path, your own way, your own success. Or, get off my bus.

Key West Reader on October 24, 2009 at 2:54 PM

Spending money is the only thing this government can do. We could save money as a nation if we didn’t waste so much on the government.

ThackerAgency on October 24, 2009 at 1:57 PM

I know you are a business owner, and so am I.

When my profits and productivity fall, I do not borrow money. When I am threatened, I will not hire. I watch daily as things unfold in the new government that is ours. I will not hire, will not buy, will not invest, will not expand, will not even take a step. I will sit. And, watch. I am in a state of stagnation. My employees sit each week, wondering, waiting… “Is my job gone yet?”.

I’m no nail biter. I’m a fighter. And I will join with the Chamber of Commerce to fight this POS that is threatening not only my business, but the lives of the people I employ.

STOP.

Key West Reader on October 24, 2009 at 3:01 PM

Enough with the crapass entitlements. Get to work. Make your own path, your own way, your own success. Or, get off my bus.

Key West Reader on October 24, 2009 at 2:54 PM

Yesterday during lunch, I brought up healthcare reform with the waitress. “I hope we get it for FREE” she said. I asked her if I could get my meal for free to which she giggled. When she came back with my bill, I asked her if my meal was free. She said the manager never gives customers free meals. So I asked her if she was willing to pay for my meal out of her own pocket. When she said she couldn’t afford to, I said I can’t afford to pay for your free healthcare either. Wish y’all could have seen the look on her face!

TN Mom on October 24, 2009 at 3:46 PM

Yesterday during lunch, I brought up healthcare reform with the waitress. “I hope we get it for FREE” she said. I asked her if I could get my meal for free to which she giggled. When she came back with my bill, I asked her if my meal was free. She said the manager never gives customers free meals. So I asked her if she was willing to pay for my meal out of her own pocket. When she said she couldn’t afford to, I said I can’t afford to pay for your free healthcare either. Wish y’all could have seen the look on her face!

TN Mom on October 24, 2009 at 3:46 PM

That’s Obamacare in a nutshell. Anyone dumb enough to believe it’ll be “free health care” deserves to have nothing left in their pockets when the government is through with them. Unfortunately, we’ll be screwed just as badly.

It’s truly frightening how many people are out there like Peggy Joseph or those women in Detroit waiting in line for a handout from “Obama’s stash”. Certainly they don’t represent a majority of Americans, but they do make up a sizable voting bloc that’s keeping a lot of corrupt politicians in office.

Doughboy on October 24, 2009 at 4:04 PM

“The employees worked for a program that gets HUD funding but were not paid with government funds, ACORN Housing spokeswoman Alyson Chadwick said.”

Sounds like a shell game to me. If the HUD funding wasn’t there, those brothel-advisors wouldn’t be working for Acorn, so they *are* basically paid for with government funds.

KS Rex on October 24, 2009 at 4:23 PM

There has been NO defunding of ACORN and there will be NO free, fair and open elections in 2010 and 2012.

nelsonknows on October 24, 2009 at 4:26 PM

Especially ironic considering the pay czar is slashing private sector pay and insists on tying future pay to performance. I guess what’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander.

redfoxbluestate on October 24, 2009 at 5:09 PM

Our STate U. is now going to charge more tuition for business and engineering majors, on the theory they will make more money when they get out and can thus support the art majors.

Man, are those students ticked off!

Lesson is socialism, I tell them. The look on their faces is priceless.

PattyJ on October 24, 2009 at 7:22 PM

I’m starting to get a real bad feeling that there is more to that than a frustrated joke. I am really starting to wonder if Obama is nothing more than a blithering sockpuppet to the “real” power, the ones who have propped him up and Messiahized his campaign, the Van Joneses and Cass Sunsteins of the world.

JamesLee on October 24, 2009 at 1:19 PM


Have you ever noticed that Obama’s mouth flaps open and shut when George Soros moves his fingers?

landlines on October 25, 2009 at 2:55 AM

It was odd to read this, since the numbers reported to OMB by the Bush Administration suggested the program was successful in avoiding foreclosures for upwards of 90 percent of participating households (measure A6.2):

http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/expectmore/detail/10002194.2004.html

If a 23 percent success rate is what Abt actually found, though, I’d bet the farm on it. Those guys are good.

DrSteve on October 25, 2009 at 9:21 AM

Racist.

nazo311 on October 25, 2009 at 7:54 PM

We’re from the government, and we’re here to help ourselves to your hard earned money so we can use it to buy the votes of deadbeats, moonbats and morons.

TrickyDick on October 26, 2009 at 1:48 PM