Yesterday news broke that President Bush’s Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson became a lightening rod after it was reported that in a speech he stated that he believes that he should only give contracts to supporters of President Bush. Jackson made his point by telling an anecdotal story about a contractor trying to obtain a contract from HUD. The contractor, for some inexplicable reason, told Jackson that he did not like President Bush, at which point Jackson decided that he wouldn’t give this man the contract because, as Jackson himself says, “Why should I reward someone who doesn’t like the president?”
Now, Jackson is retracting his statement by saying that he made up the story. The HUD spokeswoman stated, “The secretary’s story was anecdotal. He is not part of the contracting process. He was trying to explain to this group how politics works in D.C.” Josh Marshall says, “This doesn’t sound like a particularly exculpatory explanation. That story was made up. Jackson was just how explaining how he does business?”
Think Progress offers two points about why this explanation is a bit unbelievable:
1) That excuse isn’t just difficult to swallow — it also contradicts the spokesperson’s first response in which she indicated Jackson was referring to a real contract: “On May 3, Tucker told the Business Journal that the contract Jackson was referring to in Dallas was ‘an advertising contract with a minority publication,’ though she could not provide the contract’s value.” It looks like Jackson is changing his story as criticism builds.
2) Bidding for a government contract isn’t ‘asking for money.’ It’s not Alphonso Jackson’s money to give away to his buddies. It is the taxpayers’ money. It should go to whoever can do the best job, regardless of their political views.
So, either Jackson lied by making up his “anecdotal story” or he is lying to cover up the story. Either way the real issue is not with the factual accuracy of Jackson’s story but whether he was factually representing his own belief when he stated: “Why should I reward someone who doesn’t like the president?” It seems that Jackson wanted to make this very point and then crafted a story to fit his predetermined belief/actions. Jackson needs to come clean on whether he is breaking the law by only distributing contracts to supporters of President Bush. Doesn’t he know that lies make baby Jesus cry? (georgia10 at Daily Kos has more dirt on Jackson)