He tends not to get the credit that he deserves, but HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson really is a remarkable example of the Bush administration's premium on loyalty
. Todayâs Washington Post story
really brings it home. Consider: in April of 2006, Jackson created a minor storm by declaring to a Texas audience, "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."
Only months later, according to todayâs piece, which stems from a civil suit by the Philadelphia Housing Authority against Jackson, Jackson weighed in to make sure that a Republican buddy got control of a Philadelphia public housing property. And according to the suit, he retaliated when Philadelphia didn't fall in line. Thatâs what I call chutzpah.
That buddy is Kenny Gamble, the songwriter behind The OâJaysâ âLove Train
,â among other soulful hits. He is also, not coincidentally, an active Republican (who, for instance ,spoke at the RNC convention in 2000). Carl Greene, the Philadelphia House Authorityâs director, says that Gamble fits the profile of Jacksonâs cronyism:
Greene, who is black, said Jackson is seeking to help specific black-owned businesses and is sending a message to other housing authorities that they had better not defy him on that agenda. "His wish is to eliminate all resistance to his desire to take care of all these politically connected African American contractors," he said. "I don't see that as my duty."
Greene said, "I'm experiencing what happens when you really say no to the secretary."
This same story, it seems, has been repeated elsewhere in the country, as has become evident
from the National Journal
's reporting. Which explains why investigators seem to be discovering plenty of grist for the ongoing federal criminal investigation, especially given that Jackson told Congress, "I don't touch contracts."