WASHINGTON — Housing Secretary Jack Kemp conceded Saturday that being a Ronald Reagan supporter has made him less willing to blame his predecessor publicly for years of abuse now being uncovered within his department.
Noting the partisan ethics controversies swirling in the nation's capital, Kemp turned aside repeated attempts in an interview to get him to fault Samuel R. Pierce Jr., head of the Housing and Urban Development Department under President Reagan.
"There were problems, there was mismanagement, there were programs that were abused and there was political influence going on a lot longer than just the eight (Reagan) years," Kemp said on CNN's "Evans and Novak" program.
Cites 'Systemic Flaw'
"There was a systemic flaw that had to be corrected," he said, using a phrase he then emphasized several times. "I am outraged at what I have found at HUD but, again, I am going to put the blame as much as possible on those systemic problems that were allowed to exist."