From the archives: George Holding cast vote to protect family fortune


Clearing the tracks for the gravy train:

Republican 2nd District Congressman George Holding voted for a handful of amendments two years ago to block federal funding for fair housing investigations similar to one targeting his family bank.

Congressional rules didn't forbid the votes, but ethics watchdogs said last week that Holding should have recused himself. Not doing so, "reflects poor judgment," said Paul S. Ryan, an attorney with Common Cause in Washington, D.C.

This article is almost a year old, making that particular vote three years ago. I had actually forgotten about this until I saw a Tweet referencing it, which highlights one of the more frustrating aspects of political watch-dogging. Elected officials like Holding thrive in a short attention span, fading memory environment, and usually their most egregious behaviors occur in non-election years. We can't count on mainstream media to resurrect these stories, unless some current issue calls for it. So it's up to the peanut gallery to poke those embers. Especially when they expose discriminatory practices:

During the summer of 2015, George Holding and other congressional Republicans voted on a series of amendments blocking funding to the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The amendments forbid funding for investigations brought under a theory called "disparate impact," which is used to bring cases when potentially discriminatory business policies are not openly racial, but their results clearly show disparate impacts on minorities.

Conservatives and a number of business interests were pushing back at the time against the Obama Administration's use of this methodology to pursue fair housing claims.

At the time, First Citizens Bank & Trust was the subject of a HUD inquiry into whether the bank discriminated against minority loan applicants. The case against was investigated both under the theory of disparate impact as well as a methodology that looked at actual intent, the department said.

The case settled in 2016 without the bank admitting guilt and with HUD agreeing that the settlement wouldn't constitute evidence of a violation. The settlement called for new training procedures at the bank and the hiring of at least three specialists to focus on diverse lending.

Of course this is bread and butter for Republicans, because deep down they believe it's okay to discriminate against minorities and other sub-groups of the population. And they literally hate being called out for it, because they know a super-majority of the population, many whites included, would not support such disparate treatment. So keep calling them out, even three (or ten) years later.