Lieberman Wants Report on HUD Secretary To Be Made Public

Probe Initiated Following Partisan Remarks by Secretary Jackson on HUD Contracting Senator Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., the Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, requested Tuesday that a report on Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson be made public. The request came in a letter to Kenneth Donohue, Inspector General of HUD. In May, Lieberman asked that the investigation be conducted following reports Jackson had rescinded the contract of a man who had expressed dislike for President Bush. The investigation, which resulted in issuance of the IG’s report a week and a half ago, found evidence that Jackson personally intervened “in decisions involving contractors who have Democratic political affiliations,” according to Lieberman’s letter. The letter is below. October 3, 2006 The Honorable Kenneth M. Donohue Inspector General U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Washington, D.C. 20410-4500 Dear Inspector General Donohue: I am writing to request that you release a public version of the report you completed recently concerning allegations of political interference with the procurement process in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) (Investigation No. HQ06-00015). This investigation was conducted at my request following remarks made by the HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson at an April forum in Dallas, Texas. In those remarks, Secretary Jackson suggested that he rescinded a contract of a man who had expressed dislike of President Bush. The report recently issued by your office contains credible evidence that Secretary Jackson intervened in decisions involving contractors that have Democratic political affiliations. The report also contains disturbing testimony from senior HUD political appointees that Secretary Jackson personally instructed them to consider political affiliation in contracting decisions. The review conducted by your investigators and auditors raises a serious concern that there may be systematic violations within HUD of federal procurement laws, which are structured to ensure that contracts are to be awarded on merit, without partiality or political bias. In your transmittal letter of September 18, you indicate that you view the report as covered by the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a. While there may be appropriate redactions to the report that the Office of the Inspector General should make to protect career HUD staff, I hope you agree that the Privacy Act should not be interpreted to prevent the disclosure of information about the alleged misconduct of cabinet members and senior political appointees. I therefore request that you produce a public version as soon as possible. I appreciate the work of the Office of Inspector General in conducting this report. Your continued vigilance will be critical to ensuring the integrity of the procurement process at HUD. Sincerely, Joseph I. Lieberman Ranking Member