Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today said the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has agreed to his request to release public housing authority salary data, prompting him to release his hold on an agency nominee.
“Transparency changes behavior,” Grassley said. “HUD needs to embrace that idea. I’m looking forward to the public release of housing authority salary data. Too many housing authority executives exploit the lack of transparency and oversight to pad their own nests at the expense of those who need safe, affordable housing.”
On April 1, Grassley wrote to the Senate Republican leader to announce he intended to object to any unanimous consent request for the Senate to proceed to the nomination of Dr. Katherine M. O’Regan to be an Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. This is commonly known as placing a “hold” on the nomination.
Late Thursday, Grassley talked with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, who then sent Grassley a letter confirming that HUD will publish calendar year 2013 housing authority salary data on HUD’s website by May 16. Grassley’s understanding is HUD will release salary information for the top two paid employees at each housing authority.
Grassley has long pressed HUD to release salary data and require housing authorities to abide by a federal salary cap. Housing authorities routinely transfer federal funding to unrestricted accounts, including non-profit entities, and pay executives out of those funds to avoid violating the salary cap. Transparency will shed a light on that practice, which should not be allowed, Grassley said.