Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FACT CHECK; Did Carson Find a Half-Trillion-Dollar Error in HUD Financial Statements?

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FACT CHECK; Did Carson Find a Half-Trillion-Dollar Error in HUD Financial Statements?

Article excerpt

Did Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson initiate an audit of HUD's financial statements and find more than $500 billion in accounting errors made by the Obama administration?

An article published April 6 by the conservative Daily Wire and republished or cited by other websites, wrongly credited Carson with uncovering the accounting mistakes.

Actually, the errors were discovered during an annual audit started in 2016 by HUD's Office of the Inspector General, which has been headed by David A. Montoya since December 2011.

According to its website, the OIG, which has a separate budget from HUD, works independently from the department in an effort to "promote efficiency and effectiveness in programs and operations; detect and deter fraud and abuse; investigate allegations of misconduct by HUD employees; and review and make recommendations regarding existing and proposed legislation and regulations affecting HUD."

President Donald Trump nominated Carson, a former neurosurgeon and Republican presidential candidate, to serve as HUD secretary in December, but the Senate did not confirm Carson to the post until March 2 - one day after the OIG published an updated report providing the total value of the errors.

But, as the report noted, the OIG first notified HUD officials last year of issues it found during a routine review required by federal law. That was long before Carson became secretary.

FactCheck.org continued a review of the financial statements, which identified material errors and misstatements in the financial statements and notes.

FactCheck.org notified HUD management in early December 2016 and requested that it perform its own review. HUD concluded its review and agreed with FactCheck.org that the pervasiveness and scope of the errors contained in the financial statements justified the need to reissue the statements to correct the errors.

For example, FactCheck. …

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