Wednesday, May 10, 2006


HUD Scandal: Shakedown Street?

The HUD scandal involving HUD chief Alphonso Jackson's boasting of turning down a prospective HUD contractor because the guy didn't like Bush has really grown legs. Lautenberg and Lieberman are among the growing number of Democratic lawmakers calling for an investigation into Jackson's behavior -- or his resignation. So what do HUD's spinmeisters do? They try to tell the Dallas Business Journal (the place where Jackson's comments first came to light) that it's okay -- their boss just lied, is all:

Dustee Tucker, a spokeswoman for Jackson, told the Dallas Business Journal Tuesday that Jackson's comments at his April 28 speech were purely "anecdotal." "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."
Let's not even go into how ineffably stupid this sounds, to defend against charges of malfeasance by copping to lying instead. The very next paragraph of the Dallas Business Journal article undermines their entire spin effort:
(On May 3, Tucker told the Business Journal that the contract Jackson was referring to in Dallas was "an advertising contract with a minority publication," though she could not provide the contract's value.)
So, on May 3, Dustee Tucker not only confirms the incident happened, but goes on to provide additional details about the contractor that Jackson illegally screwed. But once she and her boss are informed that what he did was illegal, suddenly she's saying the incident never actually happened? Hello?!?! And it gets even better. See, one of Josh Marshall's readers brought up this point: There only one reason that the contractor would have bothered mentioning his dislike of Bush to Jackson -- and that would be because Jackson had tried to shake down the guy for contributions to the Republican Party. Jackson had better hope like hell that the guy he stiffed doesn't step forward.

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