HUD’s ‘Fair Housing’ Assault on Local Communities

The American Enterprise Institute presents a case study of crony advocacy in proposed rule writing. Please watch this video featuring experts on HUD’s distortion of local housing markets.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its long-awaited proposal “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” in July with the intent of restructuring zoning practices in local jurisdictions and neighborhoods across the country. At a Capitol Hill luncheon event, Westchester County Executive, Robert Astorino, presents his first-hand experience with HUD’s demands to sue localities over common zoning regulations in an effort to dismantle local zoning as it is known today.

Cornelia Mrose presented her original research analyzing the comments submitted for HUD’s proposed rule “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing”. It is a textbook case of crony advocacy. Her analysis of the hundreds of comments submitted during the comment period on the proposed ruling found that an overwhelming majority of commenting non-profit organizations are stakeholders of HUD and support the new ruling. Many of these HUD affiliated and HUD funded groups submitted comments based on engineered templates. In contrast, comments by individual citizens make up almost two thirds of all comments with a vast majority of citizens opposing the ruling.

hud crony advocacy

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Speaker Biographies

Rob Astorino was reelected Westchester County executive in 2013 with nearly 57 percent of the vote. He won by delivering on the bold reforms he promised in his first campaign. His 2 percent reduction in the county property-tax levy was more than any county in the past four years. He also managed to reduce county spending by 5.2 percent by cutting waste, reducing his own staff by 19 percent, and requiring health care contributions from elected officials and his staff. He even got seven of eight government unions to start contributing to their own health care. These reforms and other sensible reforms allowed Westchester to create more than 27,000 new private-sector jobs and retain the highest-in-the-state credit rating. Before taking office as county executive, he was the station manager and program director of the Catholic channel on Sirius-XM Satellite Radio and hosted a weekly radio show from St. Patrick’s Cathedral with Cardinals Edward Egan and Timothy M. Dolan. In 2001, he helped launch ESPN Radio in New York and became the station’s senior producer. Astorino was first elected to public office at age 21, serving as a member of the Mount Pleasant Board of Education. He went on to serve for 12 years as a councilman on the Mount Pleasant Town Board, including 6 years as deputy supervisor. In 2003, he was elected to the Westchester County Board of Legislators.

Cornelia Mrose is the cohost of “The Steve Mayo Show” at WVOX in Westchester County. Born and raised in Germany, she has worked as a software developer for Software AG in Germany and for Lloyds Bank and Smallworld in England. In 2003, she moved from London to the US. Cornelia is active in local politics and lives with her husband and their three teenaged daughters in Westchester County.

Edward J. Pinto, an executive vice president and chief credit officer for Fannie Mae until the late 1980s, has done groundbreaking research on the role of government housing policies in the lead-up to the financial crisis. In particular, his data have revealed striking facts about the contributions of housing policy to the mortgage crisis. Two of his major research papers, “Government housing policies in the lead-up to the financial crisis: A forensic study” and “Triggers of the financial crisis,” were submitted to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. At AEI, Pinto is continuing his work on the role of housing policies in the financial crisis and researching policy considerations and options for rebuilding America’s housing-finance sector.