Letter: Got funding; got personal

The recent exchange between Ron Maxwell and Christopher Moyles caught my eye for a couple of reasons. First, in my view, Mr. Maxwell’s analysis of the impact of illegal alien labor on wages is sound, and so is his view of the humanitarian rhetoric that camouflages so much government waste. Second, the “response” to Mr. Maxwell’s letter from Mr. Moyles was not a response at all, but a tub-thumping celebration of the work of the agencies which he directs, with a companion personal attack on Mr. Maxwell and his world-class, widely acclaimed films.

All of that would be routine, I suppose, had Mr. Moyles not called Mr. Maxwell a liar. Here’s what Mr. Moyles wrote: “His [Maxwell’s] primary assertions ― that Fauquier Housing Corporation and Rapidan Better Housing Corporations are ‘federally funded nonprofit organizations promoting the construction of taxpayer-subsidized housing’ ― are simply not true.”

I worked many years on Capitol Hill watching how federal money gets spent, so this caught my eye. After doing some digging, I discovered that the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development lists Mr. Moyles’ organizations as the recipients of $396,781 of state funding, and $763,990 in federal funding, in 2009 and 2010.

I called Mr. Moyles to run these figures by him. “I sure wish I could see some of that money,” he said for openers. In our conversation, he made two distinctions. First, the clients of his organizations get that funding. His organizations “administer” that funding and receive a “fee for service” for each project. Second, that “fee for service” comes from the state, not the federal government. I asked how much of that “fee” comes from federal funds, since the state says that the organizations received “federal funding” of some $763,990 in the past two years? “I have no idea where that comes from, what that label means, or what their glossary of terms is,” he replied.

Perhaps Mr. Moyles might want to inquire with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development about the answer to that very pertinent question. After all, he mounted a surly and unbecoming personal attack on Mr. Maxwell for making statements that were “simply not true,” when Mr. Moyles might discover that they were true after all.

As to us average taxpayers, if the federal government gives Richmond three-quarters of a million dollars and it goes to 16 projects administered by Mr. Moyles’ organizations paid for by a check from Richmond, we have every right to call it “federal funding,” even if Mr. Moyles calls it a “fee” — especially because Mr. Moyles’s organizations would have a lot less to do if that federal funding weren’t there for them to administer.

In the meantime, all Mr. Moyles needed to do was skip the personal attacks, point out what he considers to be Mr. Maxwell’s misplaced modifier, and submit the corrected version to your readers, to wit: “His [Maxwell’s] primary assertions ― that Fauquier Housing Corporation and Rapidan Better Housing Corporations are ‘nonprofit organizations promoting the federally-funded construction of taxpayer-subsidized housing’ ― are obviously true.”

Christopher Manion
Front Royal

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