The Office of Inspector General (OIG) opened this review in March 2019 after receiving a congressional request to examine alleged delays in the disbursement of approximately $20 billion of disaster recovery and mitigation funds appropriated for Puerto Rico following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Our review examined the decisions and actions of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD or Department) officials that affected the timing of HUD’s release of three tranches of funds intended to address Puerto Rico’s unmet needs for repairs and mitigation efforts. We examined (1) the effect that the government shutdown during late 2018 to early 2019 had on the release of these funds; (2) HUD’s decision-making process for making the second and third tranches of funding available to the Puerto Rico grantee; and (3) whether former HUD Deputy Secretary Pamela Patenaude resigned because of undue influence related to HUD’s administration of Puerto Rico disaster-recovery funds. Our examination of HUD officials’ decision-making in this review included inquiry into their interactions with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and White House officials regarding the execution of HUD’s disaster-recovery programs. Our role in this review was not to opine on the appropriateness of any OMB or White House officials’ actions, as our oversight authority does not extend to their conduct, but we assessed the extent to which OMB or White House officials directed or influenced HUD officials’ actions.
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
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