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Dr. Ben Carson, center, waits for the the third debate between Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the third presidential at UNLV in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Big problems await Ben Carson at HUD


Big problems await Ben Carson at HUD

WATCH | Dr. Ben Carson's first task when he gets to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will be to fix the agency's accounting practices.

A recent HUD inspector general audit found that the agency’s accounting practices were so poor that the inspector general wasn’t able to provide an opinion on the financial health of the agency.

So if Carson is confirmed as the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, he will have his hands full, and not because he has no experience in housing, or in government, but it could be because he isn't an accountant.

In the report, the words "weakness" or "weaknesses" were used more than 40 times to describe the information that HUD provided their inspector general. 

“What the IG report is telling us is that they don’t even know where the money’s going. They aren’t even able to track it; they can’t measure outcomes," said Leslie Paige of the conservative group Citizens Against Government Waste.


HUD’s General Council refused to sign off on the accuracy of the financial data provided. And based on the information the inspector general did receive, they found five instances of non-compliance with laws and regulations.

After the IG report came out, HUD defended their accounting practices telling the Daily Caller they apply accepted  accounting standards. Despite this claim, the inspector general was still unable to make sense of HUD's accounting practices.

“It’s really incumbent upon Ben Carson to find a top notch CFO who can come in really be a strong financial manager and person of accountably to step into that role and take account of HUD’s programs," Amy Liu, Vice President at the Brookings Institute told Circa.

However, Carson's inexperience running a government agency doesn't mean he won't succeed as the head of HUD. 

“This IG report is proof positive is that you can have this thing run by all the well-experienced bureaucrats in the world and you’ve a got a significant problem with your finances," Paige told Circa.

HUD’s primary objective is to help provide access to affordable housing for low-income Americans. And in 2016 the agency had a budget of about 47 billion dollars and employed more than 8,000 people. In order for HUD to fulfill its mission under Carson, he will have to be open to learning.

“The first thing that Carson should do is admit that he doesn’t know that much about housing which is something that he has already done and use that as an opportunity to learn to go on a listening tour," according to Liu.

The very first thing he is going have to do is get a handle on the financials which is tackling a major problem in and of itself.
Leslie Paige

For Carson to succeed at HUD, he's going to need a good accountant.

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