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Chuck Grassley public domain Chuck Grassley public domain  

Grassley releases hold on HUD nominee, department agrees to publish salary data

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has agreed to release public housing authority salary data, Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley announced.

In response to this move, Grassley said he would release a hold on a pending HUD nominee.

“Transparency changes behavior,” Grassley said in a statement on Friday.  “HUD needs to embrace that idea.  I’m looking forward to the public release of housing authority salary data.  Too many housing authority executives exploit the lack of transparency and oversight to pad their own nests at the expense of those who need safe, affordable housing.”

In the beginning of April, Grassley sent a letter to Senate Republican leadership, indicating his plans to reject any unanimous consent request for the Senate to proceed with the nomination of Katherine M. O’Regan to be an assistant secretary of HUD.  This process is typically referred to as a “hold.”

Grassley wrote that before the Senate moved forward with the nomination, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan must respond to a February letter demanding the department to come forward with its 2013 salary and compensation data.

The Iowa Republican wrote, “Every year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development provides billions of dollars to public housing authorities but provides little oversight for how the money is spent. “

“Many housing authority directors are more concerned with padding their own nests instead of providing safe, affordable housing for people in need.  One way to change this is to make detailed spending information available to the general public,” suggested Grassley.

The senator noted that he had requested HUD to collect and public release the data on its website back in 2011, but the department failed to publish a comprehensive report.

Grassley alleged in his letter to Republican Senate leadership that HUD might be violating the mandated salary cap for HUD executives by funneling federal money through unrestricted accounts, including non-profit entities.

On Thursday, HUD’s Shaun Donovan responded, agreeing to publish the calendar 2013’s housing authority salary data on HUD’s website no later than May 16. The report should include compensation information for the top two paid employees at each housing authority.

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