Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Congressional Investigation Centers on Abuses at Hud

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Congressional Investigation Centers on Abuses at Hud

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - Mismanagement and potential political abuses at the Department of Housing and Urban Development extend far beyond a federal low-income housing program now under scrutiny by Congress and the Justice Department, an internal report shows.

Congressional investigators say they will use the report, by the department's inspector general, Paul A. Adams, as a road map to other housing programs that may have been manipulated in the Reagan administration to benefit prominent Republicans.

The report, a semiannual summary of all investigations conducted by the inspector general's staff, was sent to Congress this week.

It documents ``abuse'' and ``mismanagement'' in a number of programs, and some of the abuses resemble those found in the Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation Program, which Congress is investigating.

An earlier audit by Adams suggested that millions of dollars in rent subsidies under the program were distributed through the influence of Republican consultants, and that the process used by HUD to select housing projects was not supported by adequate documentation.

The inspector general's new report shows that the Section 8 program, intended to encourage developers to rehabilitate low-income housing, is one of several programs in which the housing agency authorized large awards on the basis of inadequate or undocumented reviews.

``Our audits continued to show serious problems in HUD's housing programs'' in the final months of the Reagan administration, Adams said in the in to his 85-page report. The document described investigations handled by his office from October 1988 through March.

Although Adams' summary did not disclose new instances of political favoritism or influence peddling, department officials and congressional investigators say they believe that lobbying efforts by prominent Republicans played a significant and as yet unpublicized role in several housing programs.

``The value of Adams' report is that we can now go out and dig and find out if these other programs have been influenced by political shenanigans,'' said a Democratic aide in the House.

``We know where we should look. …

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