News & Politics

HUD Head Evicted: White House Officials "Questioned Ability to Lead the Agency"

While Jackson was busy erecting giant photo homages to himself, the nation was spiraling into the worst housing crisis since the Great Depression.

Today, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Alphonso Jackson announced his resignation, effective April 18, marking the exit of one of Bush’s few remaining holdovers from Texas. CNN’s Ed Henry reports that Jackson is departing because he has “been struggling privately” with ethics allegations.

The Washington Post reports that officials summoned Jackson to the White House last Monday, and “discussed his ability to continue to lead the agency.” Jackson faces ongoing probes “by a federal grand jury, the Justice Department, the FBI and the HUD inspector general.” At least five lawmakers have called on Jackson to resign, including Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Barney Frank (D-MA).

In May 2007, Jackson testified to Congress, “I don’t touch contracts.” In retrospect, that statement appears to have been at best a gross inaccuracy, and at worst, an outright lie. A look at Jackson’s tenure of incompetence and corruption:
Loyalty Over Merits: During a speech on April 28, 2006, Jackson recounted a conversation he had with a prospective contractor who had a “heck of a proposal.” This contractor, however, told Jackson, “I don’t like President Bush.” Jackson subsequently refused to award the man the contract. A former HUD assistant secretary confirmed that Jackson told agency employees to “consider presidential supporters when you are considering the selected candidates for discretionary contracts.”
Political Retaliation: In 2006, Jackson allegedly demanded that the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) “transfer a $2 million public property” at a “substantial discount” to Kenny Gamble, a developer, former soul-music songwriter, and friend of Jackson’s. When PHA director Carl Greene refused, Jackson and his aides called Philadelphia’s mayor and “followed up with ‘menacing’ threats about the property and other housing programs in at least a dozen letters and phone calls over an 11-month period.”
Amanda Terkel is Deputy Research Director at the Center for American Progress and serves as Deputy Editor for The Progress Report and at the Center for American Progress.
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