The Honorable Alfonso Jackson
U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development
451 7th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20410
Dear Secretary Jackson,
I was troubled to read recent news reports about the nature of certain contracts awarded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Specifically, I am concerned that a HUD contract has been awarded to a company allegedly involved in illicit activities including bribery, gambling, and prostitution.
Last week, Harper's Magazine's weblog posted an update to its coverage of the federal contracts awarded to Shirlington Limousine and Transportation, Incorporated of Arlington, Virginia. This report indicated that HUD had awarded the company a $519,823 contract. As you may know, the company's president, Christopher D. Baker, has an extensive criminal history including drug possession, attempted robbery, and car theft along with other offenses over the last decade. Additionally, allegations have been bade that suggest that individuals involved in an ongoing Congressional bribery investigation used the limousine service to provide escorts and other services to federal officials in exchange for federal contracts. The fact that a contract from your agency has been awarded to a company embroiled in such a serious criminal investigation raises significant questions about the HUD's procurement process.
This comes on the heels of reports that at an April 28th Dallas real estate forum, you stated that individuals or organizations who had expressed their opposition to President Bush would not be eligible to receive federal contracts. All qualified organizations and businesses should have the opportunity to compete in the federal procurement process, and contract should be awarded to the company that can do the best work at the least cost to the government. Awarding federal contracts based on political affiliation is not only inappropriate, it is a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Therefore, I request that you release all documents and communications in your possession pertaining to any HUD contracts with Shirlington Limousine. Thorough examination of these documents is critical to eliminating suspicion of inappropriate or illegal activity in awarding Shirlington Limousine a federal contract. I also ask you to clarify your comments regarding the eligibility of Administration opponents to compete for federal contracts.
I hope you will swiftly honor my request for the release of all pertinent documents to restore the integrity to the procurement processes of your department.
Louise M. Slaughter
Member of Congress