Thursday, October 04, 2007

Bush Official, Friend Under Investigation

Justin Rood, ABC New Blotter: A Bush administration cabinet secretary is facing multiple federal investigations about whether he lied to Congress when he vowed he never intervened in contracting awards at his department, according to a new report.

The FBI and the Justice Department are working with the inspector general for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to probe whether HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson arranged for nearly half a million dollars worth of work to go to a golfing partner and friend, according to the National Journal magazine.

At a Senate hearing May 3, Jackson told lawmakers, "I don't touch contracts." Jackson, who was once a neighbor of President Bush's, was facing scrutiny for telling an audience in April 2006 that he once nixed a contract to a company because its top executive opposed President Bush.
At the time of Jackson's comment, White House spokesman Tony Snow told reporters that President Bush "still supports a man with whom he's had a long and close relationship."

Jackson's golfing partner, stucco contractor William Hairston from Hilton Head, S.C., received more than $485,000 for work with the HUD-controlled Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO), the magazine reported.

Hairston told National Journal that Jackson helped him land the job.

"The secretary asked me if I would go to New Orleans and help them out," he said in an interview with the magazine. (More)

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