Housing and Urban Development (HUD) spokeswoman Dustee Tucker repeatedly misled the press about HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson’s April 28 speech in Dallas, where he admitted canceling a government contract with a business because the CEO was critical of President Bush.
In the HUD Inspector General’s (IG) report, which has not been made publicly available, Tucker admits to misleading the press by making up statements, as well as stating things as “fact” that were actually assumptions. Some examples from the report reviewed by ThinkProgress:
– On May 2 or May 3, the Dallas Business Journal (DBJ) called Tucker and inquired whether the contractor incident in Jackson’s story actually happened. Tucker replied, “I can’t speak to a hypothetical, you know. You’re speaking about a verbal agreement.” But according to p. 17 of the HUD report, when asked if she had “made up” the “concept of a verbal agreement,” Tucker acknowledged she had: “Yes. I probably did when I responded to her.”
– On May 9, Tucker told the DBJ that Jackson’s story was “not a true story. It’s a made-up story.” But Tucker didn’t know it was made up. In her testimony to investigators (p. 20), “Tucker acknowledged that, in her meeting with JACKSON, JACKSON ‘never said the entire thing is made up.’ Tucker further acknowledged, ‘that was my assumption.’”
– On May 9, Tucker told the Dallas Morning News that the contractor who criticized Bush in Jackson’s story “was aggressive and combative.” But according to the HUD report (p. 18), Tucker later admitted that “she did not know if there was, in fact, a real person who was ‘aggressive and combative,’ but ‘assumed’ there was.”
Tucker’s actions don’t seem out of the ordinary in HUD communciations department. Cathy MacFarlane, Assistant Secretary in the Office of Public Affairs, also testified, “And with all I have to do, I am not really interested in finding out the facts. I don’t have enough time to get into contracting facts” (p. 23).