UPDATE: Ian O’Connor of the HUD’s Inspector General’s Office responded to our inquiry regarding the audit into the #Stronger Than The Storm ad campaign.
“Is this audit anything other than what would occur in the normal course of events regarding any HUD grant?
Is there a separate investigation into the Stronger Than The Storm in ad campaign?”
“We received a request from Congress and are performing an audit to address those concerns.”
MMM followed up asking:
“Is there anything out of the ordinary about this audit?
Are all Congressional requests accepted?”
“We have no further statements.”
So here is what we know. Congressman Frank Pallone asked the Department of Housing and Urban Development to look into the Stronger than the Strom ad campaign.
HUD said, OK.
When the federal government grants money, for anything, they later follow up with an audit to be sure the money was spent as intended.
Congressman Frank Pallone thought it would be clever to inform the media that the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s audit into funds granted for Sandy Relief was an investigation into Governor Chris Christie and his appearance in last summer’s #Stronger Than The Storm ad campaign.
MMM asked Ray Zaccaro, Pallone’s press contact in Washington for documentation that the audit is anything other than the normal course of business. Zaccaro said there was no documentation, just a phone call from someone at HUD responding to Pallone’s August letter on the matter saying, “yeah, we’ll look into it.” Zaccaro said that HUD wouldn’t discuss investigations, “except with us, Members of Congress.”
MMM reached out to Brian Sullivan in HUD’s press office for confirmation of a separate investigation. Sullivan referred us to Marta Metelko in the HUD Inspector General’s office. We received an auto reply from Ms. Metelko referring us to Mr. Ian O’Connor. We’ve yet to hear back from O’Connor.