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Tag Archive: Alphonso Jackson

Scandal Convergence:

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Think Progress is reporting that Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) sent a letter to embattled HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson urging him to make public all information regarding a HUD contract with Hookergate's Shirlington Limosuine:

I request that you release all documents and communications in your possession pertaining to any HUD contracts with Shirlington Limousine. Thorough examination of these documents is critical to eliminating suspicion of inappropriate or illegal activity in awarding Shirlington Limousine a federal contract. I also ask you to clarify your comments regarding the eligibility of Administration opponents to compete for federal contracts.

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Waxman, Frank Request Jackson Documents

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Via our good friends at OMB Watch comes a copy of a letter sent by Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Barney Frank, D-Mass., to HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, attempting to get to the bottom of the alternately fallacious or anecdotal account of his turning down a well qualified contractor who made a negative comment about President Bush. Messrs. Waxman and Frank write in part:

A competitive procurement process should provide the best value for the taxpayer and be free of extraneous political influence.

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Lies Make Baby Jesus Cry:

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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)

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A Political Screen for HUD Contracts?

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The big story for the day, reported initially in the Dallas Business Journal -- and picked up here and here -- is that the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson has made clear that he isn't giving government contracts to businesses that don't support the president. Has the Bush administration really put out a political screen for who it awards contracts to?! As ThinkProgress notes: that would be illegal.

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Senator Calls For HUD Secretary to Resign:

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Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) called on HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson to resign in the wake of his comments regarding the politicization of HUD contracting. Lautenberg: "If Secretary Jackson really said this, then President Bush should ask for his resignation. Government contracts must be based on merit, not on political favoritism." UPDATE: Waxman and Frank call for hearings into HUD contracting, according to Reuters.

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HUD Secretary Only Gives Contracts to Bush Supporters:

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President Bush's Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson seems to not understand the federal contracting process. You see he believes that only supporters of President Bush should get contracts. From the Dallas Business Journal courtesy of David Sirota:

After discussing the huge strides the agency has made in doing business with minority-owned companies, Jackson closed with a cautionary tale, relaying a conversation he had with a prospective advertising contractor. ‘He had made every effort to get a contract with HUD for 10 years,’ Jackson said of the prospective contractor. ‘He made a heck of a proposal and was on the (General Services Administration) list, so we selected him. He came to see me and thank me for selecting him. Then he said something … he said, ‘I have a problem with your president.’ ‘I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘I don’t like President Bush.’ I thought to myself, ‘Brother, you have a disconnect — the president is elected, I was selected. You wouldn’t be getting the contract unless I was sitting here. If you have a problem with the president, don’t tell the secretary. He didn’t get the contract,’ Jackson continued. ‘Why should I reward someone who doesn’t like the president?’”
Aside from this being a violation of federal rules as Think Progress points out:
Government business shall be conducted in a manner above reproach and, except as authorized by statute or regulation, with complete impartiality and with preferential treatment for none. Transactions relating to the expenditure of public funds require the highest degree of public trust and an impeccable standard of conduct.
Jackson's most egregious statement comes when he explains his understanding of the contracting process:
“Why should I reward someone who doesn’t like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president? Logic says they don’t get the contract. That’s the way I believe.”
Josh Marshall explains Jackson's "logic":
political supporters get contracts so they can pump a percentage of the profits back into the political party. Standard machine politics, at best. Organized bribery, at worst. And whatever you want to call it, the guiding principle of all contracting and government spending in the second Bush administration.
Unbelievable.

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