Cabinet-Level Cronyism

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Remember Alphonso Jackson - the Secretary for Housing and Urban Development who boasted about awarding government contracts based on political affiliation?  Well, he's back in the hotseat: turns out he counseled aides to favor political allies when giving out grants and contracts. The Dallas Morning News has this exclusive story in the HUD Inspector General's inquiry into the matter, sparked by Jackson's statements in an April 28th speech wherein he spoke of nixing a deal with a contractor because of the contractor's negative opinions of President Bush.  Jackson's actions as explored in the inquiry appear, according to Think Progress, to be a " clear violation of federal law, specifically the Federal Aquisition Reguations (48 CFR 3.101-1) which requires that 'Government business shall be conducted in a manner above reproach and…with complete impartiality and with preferential treatment for none'." Jackson was part of Bush's "Pioneer" group of fundraisers who bundled $100K in contributions for Bush in 2000.  If a Cabinet Secretary is in the business of awarding contracts based on political affiliation and not on merit - shouldn't we know whether, just as he denies contractors to non-supporters, he awards contracts to those he solicited for contributions on President Bush's behalf?  Sign our petition calling for President Bush and his political committee to release Secretary Jackson's 2000 and 2004 fundraising records - we need to see how deeply this favoritism goes.