After Series of Conflicting Statements, HUD Spokeswoman Goes on ‘Scheduled Leave’

On April 28, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson told a real estate group that he had canceled a government contract because the contractor criticized President Bush. Since then his spokeswoman, Dustee Tucker, has given conflicting explanations of the event. Let’s review —

May 3: Tucker tells the Dallas Business Journal that the contract Jackson was referring to in Dallas was an actual HUD “advertising contract with a minority publication.”

Early yesterday: Tucker tells the Dallas Morning News that Alphonso Jackson was referring to a real contract that was canceled. She even provided additional details of Jackson’s encounter with the contractor that Jackson did not mention during his April 28 speech: “When first asked about the episode Tuesday, Ms. Tucker spoke as if the contractor existed, saying he had approached Mr. Jackson ‘trashing, in a very aggressive way’ him and the president.”

Later yesterday: Tucker tells the Dallas Business Journal that Alphonso Jackson made the whole thing up: “He was merely trying to explain to the audience how people in D.C., will say critical things about the secretary, will unfairly characterize the president and then turn around and ask you for money,” Tucker said. “He did not actually meet with someone and turn down a contract. He’s not part of the contracting process.” She repeats this version to the Dallas Morning News: “‘It’s not a true story. It’s a made-up story,’ said Jackson spokeswoman Dustee Tucker, adding that he was only trying to make a point about how Washington works.”

Today, ThinkProgress made several attempts to contact Dustee Tucker at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. We were routed to Jerry Brown in the Office of Press Relations. Mr. Brown couldn’t answer our questions about the inconsistencies in Ms. Tucker’s statements. He also informed us that Ms. Tucker was now on “scheduled leave” and would not return until “next week.”