HUD is once again in the news for misusing funds and breaking federal law in the process. This time using $3.9 million to market individuals and employees in the agency. Under the Federal Acquisition Regulations, federal agencies and divisions are not allowed to market individuals, individual agendas or even the department or division. That’s why when it comes to the government, such efforts are called public affairs rather than public relations and title for similar work are usually something along the lines of an information officer.
Ginnie Mae is under the HUD umbrella of entities and services. They guarantee mortgage-backed securities of government-insured loans. Private lending institutions are the ones who approve and secure these loans. But apparently under the administration, and not so watchful eye, of Theodore W. Tozer, president, and his former executive vice president, Mary K. Kinney, Kinney hired the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller in 2011 to handle PR for the agency – true PR, not the information services kind.
Gina Screen, who is in charge of public affairs at HUD refused to answer questions on how and why a private public relations firm was hired. If she were answering questions, the second one would be why Gina Screen, who is supposed to do the department’s public relations, would you need to hire a private public relations firm let alone one they ended up spending $3.9 million for their services.
Further questions would and should include why it was necessary to make a separate magazine article about employees at HUD have lost weight and the difference that makes. What does that have to do with backing mortgage loans? Was it all about making officials look good, or supporting an unknown agenda? If so, that’s very reason why the Federal Acquisition Regulations were enacted – to keep from wasting public funds on private agendas.
It is understandable that many government agencies want to look good in the public eye. Instead, HUD and Ginnie Mae are walking away with a huge black eye as they face this misappropriation of funds scandal. Honestly, as a people, we aren’t that concerned about the weight of any government employee, it’s not really our business. Nor should there be a need for the President of HUD to have a PR campaign spewing his qualifications. We hope he has them, but if he’s doing the job right – it shouldn’t be much of an issue. But with the PR efforts, it proves he wasn’t doing his job.
This is just shameless self-promotion on the public’s dime. However, this really shouldn’t surprise anyone as this is the same management who knowingly hired a fake CPA, who was fired from their previous job for the same misrepresentation – putting him in charge of a $1.5 trillion mortgage portfolio. The same “CPA” made at least $6.6 billion worth of entries that could not be audited.
HUD didn’t appear to be bothered that Ginnie Mae employees had the ability to do their jobs – were these cush assignments used to reward someone along the way, or people who should have been doing the job they were paid to do?
Burson-Marsteller submitted invoices showing almost no documentation of what services they provided – wonder why? They are well aware of federal statutes on the matter, they did the work and got paid handsomely in the process. But even Burson-Marsteller file showed they had not completed any of the required assessment reports.
This same management was notified several years ago of the discrepancies and problems but just either didn’t care if graft was there or possibly they were too lazy or couldn’t be bothered to address the problem. Well, guess what, HUD – PR ain’t helping you with this scandal – they only got you in deeper.
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