On Oct. 28, 2011, Representative James Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, asked the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to extend its deadline for completing a low-income housing project in his South Carolina district.
Congressmen often help projects in their districts. This one, however, was deeply flawed.
By the time Clyburn sought the one-year extension, the building contractor had threatened to stop work because of unpaid construction bills, a HUD employee had raised questions about mis-spending of the project’s federal money, and the U.S. Department of Justice had started an investigation. The probe included secret wiretaps on the telephones of the developer, Jonathan Pinson, who was also a Clyburn campaign contributor.
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