Either He Lied in April or in May -- But Not Both

Friday, May 12, 2006

Either He Lied in April or in May -- But Not Both

Forgive me if you're already on top of this story, but I first learned of this via today's White House press briefing. A reporter asked whether the president was still standing behind his HUD secretary, Alphonso Jackson. (The answer was yes.)

Earlier this week, on May 10, CNN gave the background on why Jackson is in hot water:
Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson apologized Wednesday for telling a business forum in Dallas, Texas, he had spiked a contract bid of a critic of President Bush.

His comments at an April 28 real estate conference have spurred calls for investigations from Democratic lawmakers, and the department's internal watchdog said it is looking into the matter.

"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," Jackson said in a written statement Wednesday afternoon.

... Jackson told the real estate conference he killed a deal with a prospective HUD contractor after the owner told him he had "a problem with your president," the Dallas Business Journal reported earlier this week. Even though the contractor had "made a heck of a proposal," Jackson reportedly said, "he didn't get the contract."

"Why should I reward someone who doesn't like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president?" Jackson was quoted as saying. "Logic says they don't get the contract. That's the way I believe."
If that's what he believes, I'm sure Jackson feels right at home in the Washington of Duke Cunningham, Tom DeLay, and Jack Abramoff.

So there you have it. Either the anecdote that Jackson told on April 28 was a lie or he lied on May 10 when he released this statement insisting that his department has never weighed "the personal or political beliefs of the (grant) recipient" as a factor in awarding grants.

Given the political forces that now control Washington, perhaps we should consider it a silver lining that the Bush administration's HUD secretary lied either on April 28 or on May 10, but not on both dates. One of those dates, he was actually being honest.

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