Ben Carson was the first neurosurgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins, so, he’s kind of a super hero.
But apparently, he’s also not a bad accountant.
President Trump picked Carson to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development, whose budget grew by leaps and bounds under Barack Obama.
In one of his first acts as HUD Secretary, Carson ordered an audit of the agency. What he found was staggering: $520 billion in bookkeeping errors.
“The total amounts of errors corrected in HUD’s notes and consolidated financial statements were $516.4 billion and $3.4 billion, respectively,” the auditors wrote.
But there were plenty of other problems, too.
There were several other unresolved audit matters, which restricted our ability to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to express an opinion.
These unresolved audit matters relate to (1) the Office of General Counsel’s refusal to sign the management representation letter, (2) HUD’s improper use of cumulative and first-in, first-out budgetary accounting methods of disbursing community planning and development program funds, (3) the $4.2 billion in nonpooled loan assets from Ginnie Mae’s stand-alone financial statements that we could not audit due to inadequate support, (4) the improper accounting for certain HUD assets and liabilities, and (5) material differences between HUD’s subledger and general ledger accounts. This audit report contains 11 material weaknesses, 7 significant deficiencies, and 5 instances of noncompliance with applicable laws and regulations.
The same problems were detailed for each of the last three audits, and the auditors say the continued problems “were due to an inability to establish a compliant control environment, implement adequate financial accounting systems, retain key financial staff, and identify appropriate accounting principles and policies.”
So, look for Carson to get out his scalpel and start operating. Or perhaps he’ll use a machete.