HUD in hot water over new appointment

by Ryan Smith28 Apr 2015
A top Republican is challenging the Department of Housing and Urban Development over its selection of a new Federal Housing Administration chief.

In a letter to HUD Secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) criticized the method by which Castro installed a new leader for the FHA.

The agency has traditionally been led by a commissioner, who is nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Last month, however, Castro sent a letter to HUD employees saying senior advisor Eward Golding would head the FHA as the “principal deputy assistant secretary.” This new title doesn’t come with all the traditional powers of an FHA commissioner – but it avoids what could be a long Senate confirmation process. Castro made a similar appointment last year to install Lourdes Castro Ramirez as the head of Office of Public and Indian Housing after Grassley impeded her confirmation.

And that’s what Grassley’s objecting to. In his letter to Castro, he questions the secretary’s authority to appoint an FHA head without Senate approval.

“It would appear that these two officials will perform the same duties and functions of the two vacant Assistant Secretary positions in their respective offices, but will do so under a different title and without benefit of the Senate confirmation process that the Assistant Secretary positions require,” Grassley wrote. “…If HUD and the White House are purposely circumventing the nominations process, that is unacceptable.”

In the letter, Grassley demanded that Castro explain how the new positions differ from the ones that require confirmation, and asked Castro when he expected to submit nominations to fill the vacant roles.

A HUD spokesman said the department had received the letter and would respond, according to a Wall Street Journal report. HUD also maintains that the White House still plans to nominate someone to become FHA commissioner.


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