all the king’s men…

Posted on Monday 31 March 2008

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson is expected to announce his resignation Monday, according to people familiar with the matter, a decision that will deal a blow to the Bush administration’s efforts to tackle the housing crisis. The exact reasons for Mr. Jackson’s decision couldn’t be learned. Earlier this month, two Democratic senators, Patty Murray of Washington and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, sent a letter to President Bush urging him to request Mr. Jackson’s resignation, arguing that accusations of wrongdoing had made him ineffective. [Alphonso Jackson]The department has scheduled an announcement for 10 a.m. Asked if Mr. Jackson was planning to resign, HUD spokeswoman DJ Nordquist said she was "not at liberty to say what the announcement is."
HUD runs the Federal Housing Administration, a big government division that insures mortgages for low-income homeowners and first-time home buyers. Many Democrats and Republicans have envisioned expanding the FHA to play a bigger role in stabilizing the mortgage market. The FHA would also be at the center of a HUD plan to provide partial insurance to homeowners who owe more money on their mortgages than their homes are worth.

Mr. Jackson’s most-recent problems stem from a Philadelphia redevelopment deal. The city’s housing authority has filed a lawsuit charging that Mr. Jackson tried to punish the agency for blocking a deal involving a friend of his. The allegations came up during congressional hearings this month. Mr. Jackson declined to answer questions, saying the judge in the lawsuit had instructed the department not to talk. HUD has argued it wants to change the housing authority’s special funding status because it lacks enough housing for the disabled.

In 2006, HUD’s inspector general investigated remarks made by Mr. Jackson that some interpreted to mean that contracts were awarded in some cases based on political affiliation. The report didn’t find any wrongdoing at the agency. "Why should I reward someone who doesn’t like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president?" Mr. Jackson was quoted as saying in the Dallas Business Journal. "Logic says they don’t get the contract. That’s the way I believe." Mr. Jackson’s remarks elicited a firestorm of controversy on Capitol Hill. Afterward, in a statement from HUD, Mr. Jackson said, "I deeply regret the anecdotal remarks I made at a recent Texas small-business forum and would like to reassure the public that all HUD contracts are awarded solely on a stringent merit-based process"…
I wonder if our government has ever been this politicized? I kind of doubt it. During BushCo’s first term, this kind of thing was rampant, open, and mostly unchallenged. In his speeches, Bush openly joked about his "base" – the rich businessmen. I expect Alphonso’s reasons for resigning ["… exact reasons for Mr. Jackson’s decision couldn’t be learned"] are not able to be learned for some not very savory reasons.

Where have the tendrils of the BushCo political machine not reached? DoJ, DoD, HUD, FBI, CIA, NSA, GAO… If it’s got an initial, it’s been infiltrated and politicized. The governmental agency involved with our volatile housing market is no exception – politics, not service. I wonder what that is in Latin? Just in from ThinkProgress:
Today, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Alphonso Jackson announced his resignation, effective April 18, marking the exit of one of Bush’s few remaining holdovers from Texas. CNN’s Ed Henry reports that Jackson is departing because he has “been struggling privately” with ethics allegations.

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