Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 16, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

ACTION JACKSON....When we last left him, HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson was gleefully telling an audience that he had scuttled an advertising contract after the winning bidder told him he didn't like George Bush much. "He didn't get the contract," Jackson said. "Why should I reward someone who doesn't like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president? Logic says they don't get the contract. That's the way I believe."

Later Jackson said he had just been kidding, and HUD's inspector general let him off the hook even though three HUD staffers remembered him saying something similar at a staff meeting. Now, though, it appears that Jackson may have been doing more than merely keeping contracts away from people who didn't support the Bush administration. Apparently he was also steering business to his friends:

Behind the scenes, Jackson has helped to arrange lucrative contract work running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for friends and associates who went to work at HUD-controlled housing authorities in New Orleans and the Virgin Islands, according to people familiar with his actions. Indeed, one of Jackson's good friends, Atlanta lawyer Michael Hollis, appears to have been paid approximately $1 million for managing the troubled Virgin Islands Housing Authority.

....[Another friend,] William Hairston, a stucco contractor from Hilton Head Island, S.C....acknowledged that Jackson had helped him land a lucrative job around January 2006 at the Housing Authority of New Orleans, or HANO. HUD and a former HANO official have said that Hairston was paid about $485,000 for working as a construction manager at HANO during an 18-month period.

Edward Pound of National Journal has the full story of the investigation by a federal grand jury, Justice Department prosecutors, the FBI, and the HUD inspector general's office here.

Kevin Drum 1:58 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (39)

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Comments

Frist.

But in what way is it surprising that people who consider the only function of government to be funneling public money to their friends sometimes get caught doing that?

Posted by: dp on November 16, 2007 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK

I continue to be amazed at how easy it is to funnel government money to your friends, family, businesses that support your party, etc.. Are all these inspector generals political appointees?

Posted by: hojo on November 16, 2007 at 3:41 AM | PERMALINK

The normal way of thinking about the American system of justice is that you are assumed innocent until proven guilty. It's already past time for this to be reversed in the case of Bush regime functionaries. Could any of them be innocent of high crimes and misdemeanours?

Posted by: natural cynic on November 16, 2007 at 5:45 AM | PERMALINK

Fascism in action. Fascists value blind fealty to The Leader above honesty and playing by the rules. Until we tear out the fascism that has taken hold in America by the roots, there will be no justice.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on November 16, 2007 at 6:42 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not surprised. I am suffering, friends, from outrage fatigue. Every single thing about this administration is more nauseating than the last.

Posted by: POed Lib on November 16, 2007 at 7:00 AM | PERMALINK

There is no act more patriotic than affecting violence upon the tyrannical and corrupt.

Posted by: An Anonymous American Patriot on November 16, 2007 at 8:01 AM | PERMALINK

Cue Will Allen grumbing about some vaguely analogous situation in which a Democrat was culpable in 3...2...

Posted by: Gregory on November 16, 2007 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

"Are most of these IGs political appointees"

Well, yes, but they all won the annual Repug Danny Kaye look alike contests from his movie "Inspector General". Actually, Danny did a far better job as an IG.

But, 'tis a shame that Krondacke from State couldn't investigate - He would start by grilling his brother, then his sister, then the family dog.

Posted by: bert on November 16, 2007 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

Time to follow the Chinese model and extract a bullet fee from his family. If you can't beat them. . .

Posted by: toast on November 16, 2007 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

You're older than I am by a lot. No doubt, you've been interested in politics a lot longer than I've been. While no administration is perfect, has any in recent times been so blatant in its rent seeking ways as the Bush administration has been? It's really incredible to me that this sort of shit has been going on for so long. It's one thing to get someone's a nephew a low level job in some department. It's quite another to basically use to federal government as a never ending piggy bank. But maybe I'm being too hard on the Bush administration. So I ask you, did the Clinton administration ever do anything like this, to such an extreme degree?

Posted by: Brian on November 16, 2007 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

Brian,

Just a tad older, or, er I was, but, you should have seen my guys.

Posted by: Fellow in Grant's tomb on November 16, 2007 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Jackson' statement: "Why should I reward someone who doesn't like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president?" explains the logic behind the Republican drive for privatization.

The more taxpayer dollars that get taken away from government agencies and given to Republican-friendly contractors, the more those dollars get recycled into contributions to Republicans.

Privatization is about political patronage and the taxpayer-funding of the REpublican party. It has nothing to do with "more efficient government."

Posted by: McCord on November 16, 2007 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

I'm shocked - shocked! - to find sex going on in this whorehouse!

Where's Bogie when we really need him?

Posted by: Uncle Jeffy on November 16, 2007 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

But I'm sure the recipients of that money were all Bush supporters. So 'logic says' that they get the cash. you know, he can reward people that like the president because that's the way he believes.

Posted by: jrsmoltz on November 16, 2007 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

As an American citizen, I am so proud that the Bush Administration has "restored honor and integrity to the Oval Office." Not a whiff of corruption or scandal anywhere. Hurrah!

Posted by: Doofus on November 16, 2007 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, malfeasance, cronyism and incompetence in the Shrub administration? Who would have thought?

Posted by: craigie on November 16, 2007 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

"Oval Office"

I believe the currently correct term is "the Offal Office".

Posted by: bert on November 16, 2007 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

We shouldn't even tolerate these guys joking about such things.

"Things would be a lot easier in a dictatorship," said G. W. Bush, "so long as I'm the dictator."

Is it a joke? Yes. Does it reveal a sincere desire for dictatorship? Yes.

The presidency isn't for people who think that way, even if their intentions are noble or they never intend to act on them.

Posted by: Boronx on November 16, 2007 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

My God. Is there not one of them, not one, who's not corrupt to the bone? Is there not one day, not one, that can go by without some new scandal, degradation or perversion being revealed about a top Republican officeholder?

Posted by: Stefan on November 16, 2007 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Following on Stefan, and is there not a day when the 28%-ers will not debase themselves by continuing to support this mendacious, incompetent, tyrranical and corrupt Administration?

Posted by: Gregory on November 16, 2007 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sure some Democrat somewhere did something similar, so this is all irrelevant unless you're calling for that Democrat's removal from whatever office he or she holds.

Posted by: Bill Allan on November 16, 2007 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

So, if Bill Allan isn't parody, then all bets are off, it's a kleptocracy and winner take all? Is that about right?

Sounds absolutely loverly...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 16, 2007 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Is there not one of them, not one, who's not corrupt to the bone? Is there not one day, not one, that can go by without some new scandal, degradation or perversion being revealed about a top Republican officeholder?
Posted by: Stefan

Nope. Next question.

'But there is nothing idealized or romantic about the difference between a society whose arrangements roughly serve all its citizens and one whose institutions have been converted into a stupendous fraud. That difference can be the difference between democracy and oligarchy.' - Bill Moyers

Posted by: MsNThrope on November 16, 2007 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Seriously. Assuming the silliness at 11:42 is not parody, are you saying that prosecutions should only go forward on a tit-for-tat basis? Before a Republican can be prosecuted a Democrat has to be ferreted out and charged with something or it's a partisan witchhunt?

WTF is wrong with people? Did a vast preponderance spend their youth munching on lead paint chips?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 16, 2007 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

BGRS,

It's a parody. See Gregory at 8:49...

Posted by: glorified jughound on November 16, 2007 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Do you think any of Bush's appointees will not be indicted in the next five years?

Posted by: freelunch on November 16, 2007 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Did I miss something? Like any undisputed, concrete evidence the Iranians actually WERE shipping IEDs and EFPs across the border for use against US troops? This seems like the worst sophistry imaginable: accuse a foe, without evidence, of nefarious acts, and then when it suits the situation, praise the foe's "improved behavior" when it appears no nefarious acts are being performed. This is the Rumsfeldian "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" updated for a new war, and it stinks just the same.

Posted by: logician on November 16, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

mr. shortstop: "It's like they went into federal prisons and recruited soon-to-be-released white-collar criminals to fill as many positions as they could, then asked the WCCs for recommendations of not-yet-caught friends to fill the rest."

Posted by: shortstop on November 16, 2007 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Remember Bush pledging to "change the tone" in Washington? Has surely succeeded in that.

The bit about "restoring honesty and integrity" not so much.

Posted by: clio on November 16, 2007 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Rampant corruption (both petty and major) found in the US government... more news at 11.

The US political system itself is structurally corrupt... the only way this will ever get fixed (at least temporarily) is for the people to get fed up and energized enough to fix the underlying problem.

From what I see in the American citizenry, good luck with that.

Posted by: Buford on November 16, 2007 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

craigie: Wow, malfeasance, cronyism and incompetence in the Shrub administration? Who would have thought?


no one could have anticipated....

Posted by: CONDI RICE on November 16, 2007 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

What would Frank Capra make of America today?

Posted by: Kenji on November 16, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Jackson: Why should I reward someone who doesn't like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president?

Because it's our government, not the president's... and the contractor reflects the disapproval of Bush by a large majority of Americans.

Bushies don't see it that way, of course.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on November 16, 2007 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

My God. Is there not one of them, not one, who's not corrupt to the bone? Is there not one day, not one, that can go by without some new scandal, degradation or perversion being revealed about a top Republican officeholder? Posted by: Stefan

TPM was keeping a log for the longest time on members of the Bush administration that had been indicted or convicted. I haven't noticed it lately. It probably got to be a full-time job that they didn't have either the man power or budget to keep up with.

Stefan is right - there hasn't been a single department without at least a major conflict of interest if not multiple convictions for malfeasance of some kind.

Posted by: JeffII on November 16, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

What would Frank Capra make of America today?

George would jump.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 16, 2007 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

I think one of the signal failures of the Democratic leadership (I'm sorry, that should be "leadership") in Congress is that none of these maggots is yet in JAIL.

Loot and pillage the treasury on behalf of friends and self, lie, appoint sycophants to career jobs, defy subpoenas with a wave of the hand, and NONE OF THESE MAGGOTS IS IN JAIL YET!!

I'm sorry. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi must think they're girl scout leaders or something. I couldn't be more disgusted.

Posted by: dougR on November 16, 2007 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

And apologies to actual Girl Scout leaders out there, any of whom are probably much closer to core principles of right and wrong than are our sorry "leaders."

Posted by: dougR on November 16, 2007 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

The Girl Scouts that were duking it out on Airplane! are in the White House fighting right now.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on November 16, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

What would Frank Capra make of America today?

BGRS: George would jump.

Which George?

Clarence would visit Bailey and the good fight would finally win. With the other George, it would be the ghost of Tricky Dick that would convince him to emulate the actions of 33 years ago, except this George should drag Dastardly Dick along with him.

Ahhhhh, revenge fantasies.

Actually, Capra would recognize that our current position is when the Potters are at their apex and the good guys finally say "enough is enough". Then the populace agrees - rallying around the solution and eventual happy ending.

Posted by: natural cynic on November 16, 2007 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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