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EXCLUSIVE: Agency Report Shows Secretary Personally Blocked Contracts To Democrats

By Judd Legum  

"EXCLUSIVE: Agency Report Shows Secretary Personally Blocked Contracts To Democrats"

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In April, Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson told a group of real estate officials that he once canceled a government contract because the contractor was critical of President Bush. Awarding contracts based on political leanings “violates federal law.” Jackson is a “longtime Bush friend” and former neighbor in Dallas, Texas.

The Inspector General for the Department of Housing and Urban Development has conducted a detailed investigation and produced a 340-page report detailing his findings. The agency has given a copy to Jackson, but refused to release the report to the public.

ThinkProgress has obtained the executive summary. Here are some key excerpts:

– “During the investigation, Secretary JACKSON’s Chief of Staff, as well as the HUD Deputy Secretary testified that, in a senior staff meeting, JACKSON had advised senior staff, to the effect, that when considering discretionary contracts, they should be considering supporters of the President, language consistent with the remarks made by JACKSON in Dallas, Texas, on April 28, 2006.”

– “Investigation did disclose some problematic instances involving HUD contacts and cooperative agreement grants, in particular, the cooperative agreement award issued to Abt Associates…was blocked for a significant period of time due to Secretary JACKSON’s involvement and opposition to Abt. Secretary JACKSON’s Chief of Staff testified that one factor in JACKSON’s opposition to Abt was Abt’s political affiliation.

– “Secretary JACKSON’s Chief of Staff also identified other instances of Secretary JACKSON intervening with contractors whom he did not like. Reviews of political contributions indicated these contractors had Democratic political affiliations.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) have already called on Jackson to resign immediately. The White House yesterday gave him “a tepid vote of confidence.”

We’ve posted the full text of the report’s executive summary HERE.

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