As a pundit on Fox News, Sean Hannity decried the nation’s high foreclosure rate under President Barack Obama. As an investor, he saw it as an opportunity to make money.
According to a report Monday in the Guardian, the TV anchor has spent over $90 million investing in over 870 homes across seven states, using more than 20 shell companies to keep the transactions private. He also used loans backed by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to buy two lower-income apartment complexes in Georgia for $22.27 million, according to the report.
The revelation brought some criticism from conservative corners for Hannity.
“I think its funny that Sean Hannity turns out to be a welfare queen for HUD, having taken advantage of guarantees that were put forward by none other than the Obama Administration,” New York Times conservative columnist Bret Stephens said on MSNBC Monday morning.
Hannity has been under fire recently for not disclosing his dealings with President Donald Trump’s private attorney, Michael Cohen, even while decrying federal investigations involving him. Hannity responded by arguing that he had solicited Cohen’s legal advice almost “exclusively” on real estate.
He is now facing renewed criticism on this front, this time for not disclosing that he was a beneficiary of the HUD loans — which were increased by $5 million during HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s tenure — when Carson was a guest on on his show.
“Hannity has said over and over again he is not a journalist; he proves it every single day,” said Stephens. “The question for Fox News is whether they want to consider themselves a journalistic institution and continue to employ as an anchor a guy who is clearly better at real estate than reporting.”
He said in a statement Monday morning that it was “ironic” he was being attacked for what he characterized were altruistic investments designed to empower the economically less fortunate and he argued that they were essentially a private matter.
“I have never discussed with anybody at HUD the original loans that were obtained in the Obama years, nor the subsequent refinance of such loans, as they are a private matter. I had no role in, or responsibility for, any HUD involvement in any of these investments. I can say that every rigorous process and strict standard of improvement requirements were followed; all were met, fulfilled and inspected,” he said.