HOUSING: The Windfall Merchants

When the Senate banking committee opened public hearings last week on chicanery in the Federal Housing Administration, it knew that it was tapping a rich vein of scandal and corruption. Estimates of excess windfall profits by dollar-grabbing contractors ranged from $100 million to $500 million. But no sooner did the hearings start than the committee ran into Fifth Amendment trouble.

First reluctant witness was Clyde L. Powell, who "resigned" last April as assistant commissioner of FHA. While in his job, said Committee Chairman Homer Capehart. Powell had authorized Federal loan insurance on $6.5 to $7 billion worth of mortgages. The...

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