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Senator demands resignation of Housing Secretary after 'don't like Bush' dispute

RAW STORY
Published: Tuesday May 9, 2006

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Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) called on President Bush to ask for the immediate resignation of the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson if a report about government contracts being awarded based on the contractor's opinion of President Bush are accurate, RAW STORY has learned.

In addition, Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Barney Frank (D-MA) have also called for a full investigation. Their release follows.

The article that reported the Secretary’s comments below can be found here.

After discussing the huge strides the agency has made in doing business with minority-owned companies, Jackson relayed a conversation he had with a prospective advertising contractor.

"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."

“If Secretary Jackson really said this, then President Bush should ask for his resignation. Government contracts must be based on merit, not on political favoritism,” Lautenberg said in a release.

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A second release:

Rep. Waxman and Rep. Frank Call for Full Investigation Into HUD Contracting Under Secretary Jackson

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today Rep. Henry A. Waxman and Rep. Barney Frank called for a full investigation of all HUD contracting decisions during the tenure of Secretary Alphonso Jackson. In a letter to Secretary Jackson, they demanded all documents related to the advertising contract discussed in his April 28 speech as well as contracts he was involved with during his time at HUD.

"The Bush Administration has a track record of rewarding its friends and ignoring the rules," said Rep. Waxman, Ranking Member of the House Government Reform Committee. "The government has no right to blatantly withhold contracts simply because an American citizen dislikes the President. This raises new questions about the integrity and judgment of the Bush Administration."

"Politics has no place in the awarding of federal contracts. If the report in the Dallas Business Journal is accurate - and it is a highly respected publication - then President Bush must repudiate these comments, reverse HUD's course and assure the American people that politics plays no role in the government contracting process," said Rep. Frank, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee.

"I simply find these comments to be outrageous and unconstitutional. It troubles me to read that the contract in question would have sailed through the process because it was a good proposal, however, since the person has a particular viewpoint or doesn't like your policies they are denied the ability to do business with the U.S. Government. Mr. President, in the name of our democracy and the confidence the American people have in our government, you must engage and instruct Secretary Jackson to reverse course and leave politics at the door," continued Rep. Frank.