D.C. Squanders Federal AIDs Money

October 19, 2009

The Washington Post has delivered an exposé on the rampant corruption and waste occurring in the District of Columbia’s HIV/AIDs Administration. According to the Post, “the agency receives about $100 million a year, largely from the federal government, for prevention, medical care, housing, case management and support services.”

The revelations are appalling: 

More than $1 million in AIDS money went to a housing group whose ailing boarders sometimes struggled without electricity, gas or food. A supervisor said she was ordered to create records for ghost employees. 
About $400,000 was paid to a nonprofit organization, launched by a man who once ran one of the District’s largest cocaine rings, for a promised job-training center that has never opened. 
More than $500,000 was earmarked for a housing program whose executive director had a string of convictions for theft, drugs and forgery. After the D.C. Inspector General’s Office could find no evidence that he was operating an AIDS nonprofit group, the city terminated the grant but never sought repayment. 
All told, the Health Department’s HIV/AIDS Administration awarded more than $25 million from 2004 to 2008 to nonprofit agencies marked by questionable spending, a lack of clients, or lapses in record-keeping and care, a 10-month Washington Post investigation found. Many of the groups have since closed or are no longer providing AIDS services. 
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development operates numerous community development programs, including the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDs program (HOPWA). These programs are plagued by fraud, waste, and abuse and the Post’s sordid tale demonstrates why federal taxpayers should not be on the hook for local actions.
For more on HUD’s community development programs, see this Cato essay.


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