Ben Carson’s HUD is lax on enforcing fair housing laws

Carson cut the words "free from discrimination" from the HUD mission statement.

Ben Carson
WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 20: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson arrives to testify before the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies on Capitol Hill March 20, 2018 in Washington, DC. Secretary Carson has drawn fire from lawmakers for purchasing furniture for his office suite despite agency cutbacks. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Besides throwing his wife under the bus and making ridiculous furniture purchases for his Washington office, Ben Carson has also reportedly been working to undermine the entire point of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The New York Times reports that Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, has decided to focus on something other than the enforcement of fair housing practices. Read that again.

In November, HUD placed a hold over a half-dozen fair housing investigations which were given the most important precedence from the office’s Secretary predecessor, Julian Castro. The halt was reportedly enforced by Carson’s assistant secretary, Anna Maria Farias, and came from the head office. There has been no set time to re-establish the investigations, noting “until further notice” in the official note.

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Known as “secretary-initiated cases,” they included some rather interesting and questionable finds. One case, according to the NY Timesincluded an investigation into the bombshell article published by ProPublica that accused Facebook of allowing advertisers to exclude certain groups of people based upon ethnicity, such as Black, Hispanic, or Asian-American.

The NY Times noted that prior to Farias’ hire, Carson and his aides even canceled a planned meeting with Facebook execs, and simply took Facebook’s word over the investigative report about their questionable tactics.

Following Farias’ appointment, she sent a letter to Facebook, informing them that the investigation into their advertising practices had been terminated.

Given the major part that Facebook has taken in the Russian probe, it’s certainly not a good look for anyone on the Trump Administration at this point.

Additionally, Facebook has not avoided blame. Splinter News reports that on Tuesday, a civil rights group moved forward with a lawsuit against the media giant alleging that their advertising exclusions violated the Fair Housing Act for discrimination.

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The NY Times asserts that Farias has not opened any high-profile cases since her appointment and that she privately stated she would not unless Carson ordered her to do so.

Farias is also reportedly planning to fire or reassign persons in her camp who have been dedicated to adopting fairer housing tracts across the nation, such as Timothy Smyth who worked diligently to provide Houston with more strict housing rules in favor of the disenfranchised and the poor. At least two others have been expected to be released.

HUD spokesman Jerome Brown told the Times that they are planning to streamline enforcement in other areas such as sexual harassment, instead of what appears to be race- and economic-related discriminations.