Cutting the size of government isn’t brain surgery. However, as Dr. Ben Carson has just proved over at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, it doesn’t necessarily hurt to have a brain surgeon doing it.
According to an audit report released by HUD on March 1 — just a month into his tenure in Donald Trump’s cabinet — Carson’s department found a staggering total of nearly $520 billion in accounting errors.
Yes, you read that right. Billion.
The audit was conducted “due to pervasive material errors that we identified,” according to the report. “Our objective was to express an opinion on the fairness of HUD’s consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles applicable to the Federal Government.”
So, what did they find?
“The total amounts of errors corrected in HUD’s notes and consolidated financial statements were $516.4 billion and $3.4 billion, respectively,” the report read.
And that wasn’t all: “There were several other unresolved audit matters, which restricted our ability to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to express an opinion.
“These unresolved audit matters relate to (1) the Office of General Counsel’s refusal to sign the management representation letter, (2) HUD’s improper use of cumulative and first-in, first-out budgetary accounting methods of disbursing community planning and development program funds, (3) the $4.2 billion in nonpooled loan assets from Ginnie Mae’s stand-alone financial statements that we could not audit due to inadequate support, (4) the improper accounting for certain HUD assets and liabilities, and (5) material differences between HUD’s subledger and general ledger accounts. This audit report contains 11 material weaknesses, 7 significant deficiencies, and 5 instances of noncompliance with applicable laws and regulations.”
Yeah, what they said.
The Daily Wire also reported that auditors reported the problems “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.”
The fact that mismanagement in Housing and Urban Development is rank enough that they racked up $520 billion in errors is simply mind-boggling. While we’re happy that a brain surgeon is on call at HUD, we can only hope he brings a lot of accountants onto the surgical team.
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