didn't get Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson in trouble:
"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."
But maybe these words will: "I don't touch contracts." That's what Jackson told Congress last May to convince lawmakers that he'd never do something so outrageous as award a contract based on whether the contractor was a Republican.
But there's a problem with that, reports
the National Journal
-- it appears that Jackson did, in fact, touch at least one contract, and one for a friend of his. And the FBI is investigating:
Donohue's investigators are now working with the FBI, a federal grand jury in Washington, and prosecutors from the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section....
Investigators are exploring whether Jackson, despite that testimony, had actually lined up a contract at the HUD-controlled Housing Authority of New Orleans, or HANO, for a golfing buddy and social friend from Hilton Head Island, S.C. The friend, William Hairston, was paid more than $485,000 for working at HANO during an 18-month period, according to figures provided by HUD and a former HANO official. The work was not competitively bid.
In an interview, Hairston, a stucco contractor, said that Jackson had indeed helped him land the job at HANO. He said that the New Orleans housing agency, which HUD manages under receivership, was struggling to repair and rehab its housing units in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and needed a construction manager. "The secretary asked me if I would go to New Orleans and help them out," Hairston told National Journal.