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Irrespective of what side of the political spectrum you're on, this following story should contain some wackiness... the HUD (Housing and Urban Development) Secretary made some remarks on April 28th that he used political affiliation as a test for giving contracts out:
"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, 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."
"Jackson is right; what possessed the contractor to criticize the president in a business setting? But what possessed Jackson to say he's not going to complete the business transaction?" Jillson said. "You'd just like to take both of these guys and shake them by their collars. There's no reason to have high expectations of the contractor, but you do hope senior public officials are grounded, thoughtful people, and Jackson didn't give good evidence of that."

Read the rest of the story here. A follow-on to this is that apparently there's been a recent call for the results of an apparent earlier investigation into this (and other offenses along the same line) to be revealed
Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., has requested that a report be made public on an investigation into whether Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson showed political favoritism in contract awards.

The report, Lieberman says in a letter to HUD Inspector General Kenneth Donohue, contains "credible evidence that Secretary Jackson intervened in decisions involving contractors who have Democratic political affiliations."
Lieberman says the Inspector General's report, which was issued last month, also contains testimony from senior HUD political appointees that Jackson personally instructed them to consider political affiliation in contract award decisions.

which you can read about here. The report has been stated as both supporting and not supporting the claims made. The Guardian reports (9/26) a somewhat middle path that sounds like a combination of various parties' claims
Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson told aides to look at the political leanings of contractors when awarding deals, but there's no proof that his staff complied, an internal report says.

However, the 'i told them to do it and there's no proof that they actually followed my orders' argument isn't a particularly strong one. Jackson is now claiming that he made up the example he used in the speech (also in Guardian article.) Amusingly/Alarmingly, the HUD spokesperson who was addressing these claims has admitted to having made up all the extenuating circumstances she gave as to why her boss really cancelled the contract.

December 2009

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