Former FHA commissioner may have violated ethics

by Ephraim Vecina03 Mar 2016
David Stevens, current chief executive of the Mortgage Bankers Association and former commissioner of the Federal Housing Authority, has been cited by a right-leaning watchdog for possible violations of ethics laws during his FHA tenure.
 
The National Legal and Policy Center on Monday (February 29) asked the District of Columbia’s U.S. attorney, as well as the Housing and Urban Development Department inspector general, to determine whether Stevens went against federal rules in his conduct as both government official and lobbyist.
 
It should be recalled that right after his departure as the FHA commissioner, Stevens stepped up to head the MBA in 2011. The ethics group called for an official review to conclude if Stevens did try to use his position to favor mortgage bankers during his transition from the government to the lobbying organization.
 
Existing federal regulations prevent former government officials from “communicating or appearing on behalf of persons or entities with respect to matters in which the former officials ‘personally and substantially participated’ during their government service.”
 
The MBA decried the claims, stating that the National Legal and Policy Center’s move is both financially motivated and aimed at questioning the integrity of Stevens and his lobbying work.
 
“Since ending his government service, Dave has regularly consulted with attorneys inside and outside MBA to make sure that he and the association are always in full compliance with the law,” MBA spokesman John T. Mechem said in a statement, as quoted by The New York Times.
 
“Outside counsel to MBA has specifically reviewed Dave’s activities on behalf of MBA and its members and has confirmed that Dave has operated fully within the letter and spirit of the lobbying laws and ethics rules,” Mechem added.
 
As of press time, Stevens himself has not answered requests for comment.
 
The watchdog’s move came in the wake of another allegation back in December, when the Campaign for Accountability petitioned the Justice Department to probe Stevens for possible violations of “revolving door” laws.

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