Two House Republicans are claiming Democrats on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis improperly released "sensitive information" provided by landlord companies on eviction practices.
A subcommittee report released last week found that four companies engaged in abusive tactics to remove tenants from their homes, according to a statement released by the subcommittee: Pretium Partners (through its companies Progress Residential and Front Yard Residential), Invitation Homes, Ventron Management, and The Siegel Group.
According to the report: "The investigation revealed that these companies filed a total of 14,744 eviction actions between March 15, 2020, and July 29, 2021—nearly three times more than previously known. At the same time, these companies each displayed evidence of financial stability: Invitation Homes reported record profits.
“Ventron, Invitation Homes, Siegel, and Pretium had policies or practices that allowed filing eviction cases even when a tenant had applied for rental assistance and was waiting for aid.
“These corporate landlords’ aggressive eviction filing practices during the first 16 months of the pandemic, which continued even after the appropriation of billions of dollars in federal rental assistance, cannot be explained by severe financial duress."
In a letter to the subcommittee chair, Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., two House Republicans — Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., the ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., ranking member on the coronavirus select subcommittee — questioned the release of the information.
"Your reckless decision to include certain sensitive information in the report will have the unfortunate effect of chilling witnesses who may have otherwise desired to cooperate with the Committee, in this matter or any other," Scalise and Comer wrote in the letter.
"The report found the business practices in question were entirely lawful in most cases, which further calls into question the decision to publicize such sensitive information."
The letter did not provide details on what information in the report was considered sensitive.
Clyburn in a statement said: "The minority's letter is highly misleading and only serves to underscore that Republicans continue to put corporate profits ahead of the interests of Americans who have struggled financially during a once-in-a-century public health crisis," The Hill reported.
"Committee investigators followed longstanding committee practices in compiling this report and addressing legitimate confidentiality concerns while serving the public interest," a select subcommittee spokesperson said in a statement.
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