No, Ben Carson Did Not Find Half a Trillion in Lost HUD Money

If you pay attention to the right-wing “news” sites and blogosphere, you’d think that Ben Carson became HUD Secretary and almost immediately found half a trillion dollars in lost money at the agency. Not a word of that is even in the ballpark of being true, however. Media Matters offers a few examples:

Lies550

From the Daily Wire:

Ben Carson was the first neurosurgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins, so, he’s kind of a super hero.

But apparently, he’s also not a bad accountant.

President Trump picked Carson to head the Department of Housing and Urban

Development, whose budget grew by leaps and bounds under Barack Obama.

In one of his first acts as HUD Secretary, Carson ordered an audit of the agency. What he found was staggering: $520 billion in bookkeeping errors.

And Red State:

One of Carson’s first big moves in the department was to audit HUD, which grew drastically under the Obama administration.

In the report, it was revealed that $520 billion in bookkeeping errors were made by the previous administration.

“The total amounts of errors corrected in HUD’s notes and consolidated financial statements were $516.4 billion and $3.4 billion, respectively,” the auditor report stated.

And the endlessly wrong Gateway Pundit, who adds the ridiculous claim that the mainstream media is refusing to report this lie:

The mainstream media has neglected to report on a BIG find by Dr. Ben Carson. The Trump cabinet is a winning cabinet.

Dr. Carson dug into the agencies (sic) records in a sweeping audit wherein he found substantial bookkeeping “errors”, which only prove either the incompetence or the corrupt nature of the previous administration led by former-president, Barack Obama.

The HUD report found $500 billion in fraud and mismanagement in the government agency.

[…]

So far the Trump administration has had opposition from the left and the mainstream media. This is just another example of the terrible reporting you can find from their mouthpieces.

Actually, it’s just another example of Jim Hoft’s total inability to report the truth, ever. Here’s the reality, from Factcheck.org:

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.

And the figure of half a trillion dollars was the total value of every single bookkeeping error added together, regardless of whether those errors were too high or too low.

In conclusion, the report said “HUD was able to make revisions to correct the errors identified and make other corrections that were later identified by OCFO,” or the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. “OCFO reissued its financial statements, which included corrections totaling $516.4 billion to its notes and $3.4 billion to its financial statements.”

The report refers to the total as an “absolute value.” That’s because some of the errors were positive figures and others were negative. In all, there were nearly $520 billion in changes.

However, in a Feb. 24 memo from Deputy Chief Financial Officer Courtney Timberlake, HUD said, “Overall, the combined adjustments to the consolidated financial statements resulted in a net adjustment of $3 million, but no change in HUD’s financial position or impact on our programs.”

Literally not one word of these breathless reports is true. Carson had nothing to do with it and the net difference of all those errors was only a few million dollars, not more than $500 billion. And all this from the same people who love to decry the inaccuracy of the mainstream media. Like their hero Trump, they lie as easily as they breathe.

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