Academic audit of HUD budget finds $351 million in unaccounted-for spending since 1998

Originally published at:


“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” ― P.J. O’ Rourke.


Well tough luck then because government is, practically by definition, the people with military control over a given area. They are taking your money no matter what.

Directing efforts towards a better oversight might be a more productive course of action.


‘a more productive course of action’ than what?


Than lamenting the fact that government will exercise power over you and your property.


If they were spending the money on a James Bond style secret volcano base I’d be all for it; but, I guess, it is probably just trickling through the cracks in to legitimate, but unrecorded expenditure (stationery budgets can creep up on you unawares), or in to sticky fingers.



But I’m confused: they’re auditing one government agency over 17-19 year period, which for $21T is a bit over $1T a year. But I googled HUD’s annual budget and it’s barely $33B a year. Which means that HUD is somehow able to over-spend by $667B a year.

So how are they able to accomplish this feat? Does the Treasury just issue a stack of blank checks? Or maybe an ATM card with a huge daily limit? Or maybe HUD invested its budget wisely, and spent the proceeds on hookers and blow in which case I don’t see what the problem was.


Ah, here’s some crucial info left out of the summary:

While the documents are incomplete, original government sources indicate $21 trillion in unsupported adjustments have been reported for the Department of Defense and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the years 1998-2015.

[emphasis mine]


For a trillion dollars a year, I want the homelessness problem solved for reals, like “here’s a home, now you have one.” No way they need that many post it notes.


That’s about $33,000 per second over 20 years!


That explains the palaces that HUD recipients live in. /s


Hey, that’s a long time. You’re going to blame Trump for Bush’s reckless spending?

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As usual, @doctorow manages to garble the actual facts hopelessly in his writeup.

The actual report states that they found $21 trillion of poorly documented spending for the department of defense, and a mere $350 billion for HUD.

Also, this is not “unaccounted for spending”. It’s spending that was authorized and budgeted, but which lacks proper documentation on the books of when and how it was spent. In other words, it’s legitimate spending for which the government has lost the receipts.

This is worrysome because without the receipts, it’s impossible to verify that the money was all spent as it was supposed to be spent, nor is it possible to determine how much, if any, was misappropriated or stolen due to corruption/fraud etc.


I mean, yeah at least a little.


Life imitating art?


Genghis Khan and Mr Rogers have a total death toll of about 40 million people among the three of them.


That stat is totally unfair because Rogers only killed 2 people and honestly they were old hobos who wouldn’t be missed.


1998 to present is 20 years. $21T is, then, $1T/yr – which vastly exceeds anything remotely like the HUD budget and in fact the entire spending for non-defense discretionary items. The difference is enough to have blown the net national debt to more than twice its present level, so even if the bookkeeping is wonky the total would have shown up.

So, please, cool it with the assumption that this is all extra spending (yes, Cory, I’m looking at you for the headline.)

Let’s have a look at how much of that was moving from one bucket to another, which can end up with “adjustments” far in excess of spending. Please?


There is so much government waste that it is any wonder why some people don’t want to make it bigger. One has to wonder how much waste and fraud is out there, plus kick backs, etc and how if we removed much of it we could do more good with what we have.

I remember reading about the hover chair scam how even though they KNEW about it at Medicare and Medicaid, it took over 5 years for them to do anything about it :confused:

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That money has to be around here somewhere… Nope, don’t see anything.


Has he checked the pyramids?