Did you know who Alphonso Jackson is? Well, he's probably the soon-to-be-former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. I haven't written on this yet, and Captain Ed has it covered.
Apparently Jackson was at a Dallas small business forum on April 28, and he told a story indicating that he had refused to award a contract to a firm headed by someone who told him he disliked the President:
"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."
Jackson now disputes this, and says that he the anecdote he told was fictitious - or something. His press release is not very specific. Regardless, it doesn't ring true. Why tell such a story if it's not true. (Of course, it's stupider to tell it if it IS true, but that's beside the point).
Today at his press briefing, Tony Snow reportedly said that the President "stands behind Alphonso Jackson." Well, I hope it's only to close the door behind him. If Jackson did what he said he did (and I bet it won't be too long before we hear from the contractor), then he has to go. Even if not, the administration should send the message that it takes suggestions like this seriously. A public official may not bring partisan goals into his or her government capacity. The suggestion that he did ought to be enough to cost Jackson his job.
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