NATIONAL JOURNAL: Questionable Contracts (10/04/07)
By Edward T. Pound, National Journal
© National Journal Group Inc.
Thursday, Oct. 4, 2007
In April last year, Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson traveled to Dallas to deliver a speech to a group of minority real estate executives. The event should have been pretty routine stuff. But Jackson -- and these are his words -- shot off his mouth by describing how he believed contracts should be awarded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The secretary recalled, for instance, how he once had killed a contract award because the contractor had disparaged his friend President Bush.
Not too long after his speech, when he was back in Washington, Jackson realized he had blundered. Democratic lawmakers, citing concerns about political favoritism in HUD contract awards, called for an investigation by the department's inspector general. One powerful senator demanded Jackson's resignation. Jackson, meanwhile, issued an apology: HUD contracts, he said, were never "awarded, rejected, or rescinded" because of political influence or bias