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Catherine Austin Fitts (born 1950) is an American investment banker and former public official who served as managing director of Dillon, Read & Co. and as United States Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for Housing during the Presidency of George H.W. Bush.
She has widely written and commented on the subject of public spending and has alleged several large scale instances of government fraud.
Early life and education
Catherine Austin Fitts was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She earned a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating, she briefly worked as a bartender until one of her customers, who was director of admissions at The Wharton School, encouraged her to pursue graduate studies. She received her MBA from Wharton in 1978.
Writing and commentary
Fitts has researched and commented on government spending. In a 2004 study published in World Affairs: The Journal of International Issues, she purported to find "evidence that a very large proportion of the nation’s wealth is being illegally diverted since several decades into secret, unaccountable channels and programmes with unspecified purposes, including covert operations and subversions abroad and clandestine military R&D at home. Public institutions have been infiltrated and taken over by shadowy groups in the service of powerful private and vested interests, often at the expense of the common good."
In 2017 Fitts co-authored a report, with Michigan State University economist Mark Skidmore, that claimed to find $21 trillion in unauthorized spending by the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development over a 17 year period. Four days following the report's release, the Department of Defense announced it would undertake the first independent financial audit in its history. The report was subsequently cited by United States Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as evidence of government funding that could be redirected to healthcare programs.
Fitts has claimed that HUD's mission of spurring economic growth is secondary to what she contends is its use as a fundraising mechanism for military and intelligence agencies involving a complex securities scheme using HUD-backed Ginnie Mae investments. According to Fitts, HUD overpays to rehabilitate public housing and funnels the difference into unaudited black budget programs at the behest of national security agencies.
During the United States presidential election, 2016, Fitts supported the campaign of Donald Trump. On December 8, 2020, Trump retweeted one of Fitts' tweets which linked to an article on Breitbart. She has donated to political campaigns of Democrats Cynthia McKinney and Marcy Kaptur, and Republicans Rand Paul and Thomas Massie.
Fitts has been a recurrent guest on the overnight radio program Coast to Coast AM.