The startling truth came out in a recent congressional hearing: Two Trump appointees from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) admitted that a required deadline was purposely missed resulting in Puerto Rico missing out on hurricane relief funding.
The two political appointees that appeared before the House Appropriations subcommittee were Irv Dennis, HUD’s chief financial officer, and David Woll, the principal deputy assistant secretary for community planning and development.
The admission “bewildered lawmakers,” MSN reports, because had the department met the deadline mandated by Congress, it would have resulted in Puerto Rico receiving billions of dollars in federal housing funds—money that was sorely needed after the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria.
The agency was given a deadline of Sept 4th to issue notices about funding to 18 states and territories. HUD managed to get them all done minus one: Puerto Rico. Representative David Price (D-NC) put it bluntly, saying HUD failed “to comply with the law.”
When asked to clarify why the deadline was missed in regards to Puerto Rico, Woll admitted that even though they had “no statutory authority,” it was done intentionally because HUD was worried about “corruption” and “Puerto Rico’s capacity to manage these funds.” These are talking points made popular by Trump and Housing Secretary Ben Carson.
Puerto Rico is one of the most corrupt places on earth. Their political system is broken and their politicians are either Incompetent or Corrupt. Congress approved Billions of Dollars last time, more than anyplace else has ever gotten, and it is sent to Crooked Pols. No good!….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2019
While it is true that there was some political unrest in Puerto Rico over the summer months, Fernando Gil-Enseñat, Puerto Rico’s housing secretary, was not involved. Woll agreed that Gil-Enseñat was “honorable.”
Thus far, Puerto Rico has only seen $1.5 billion of the $20 billion allocated to help rebuild homes and complete infrastructure repair.