Another Bush appointee comes up short

Almost as when Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans, another key Bush appointee has come up short in the midst of a crisis.

Alphonso Jackson resigned this week as head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the mother ship of the Federal Housing Administration, the lead agency in trying to stem the onslaught of foreclosures. Depending on which rescue plan passes Congress, FHA could be responsible for hundreds of billions more in taxpayer dollars to refinance struggling homeowners.

The secretary leaves under a cloud of controversy. He is the subject of FBI, Justice Department and HUD investigations into allegedly steering large HUD contracts to his friends and for having work done on his vacation home by the recipient of a HUD contract. Separately, Congress and HUD’s inspector general are investigating whether Jackson retaliated against the Philadelphia Housing Authority for refusing to turn over a valuable piece of property to a Jackson friend.

Jackson was part of President Bush’s original circle of Texas friends who came with him to Washington. He has been with the administration since the outset, first as deputy HUD secretary and then rising to Cabinet status in 2004.

It is unclear whether Jackson was pushed or left by mutual agreement. He conferred with White House aides last week, met with Bush on Saturday and resigned Monday. He said he was quitting to attend to personal and family matters, but it’s hard to see him voluntarily leaving a post he reveled in with only 10 months left to go.

Bush, loyal to a fault, might have stuck with his beleaguered secretary if Jackson last month had not contemptuously stonewalled a Senate subcommittee investigating the awarding of HUD contracts. In a letter to the president, outraged Democrats demanded his resignation and Bush apparently decided to cut his losses.

With the clock running, Bush must now find somebody, perhaps from within the department, who can pass congressional muster and take up the task of stabilizing the housing market.


  1. barak

    Is this a surprise? With no supervision or direction given by the Chief Executive, we should not be surprised to learn of corruption at Cabinet levels. With Bush and Cheney grabbing all they can get their greedy hands on, why be surprised when Cabinet officials try to do the same?

    Pelozi cannot be held blameless either. If she had not refused to consider impeachment, this all might have been over by now.Or we might have been sunken in an Impeachment Proceeding much worse than that during the Clinton period–this time without the still capable direction of the President to keep the government going, despite his own personal problems.

    This is much too much to expect from a weakling like G W Bush. He would be unable to control the government without extreme, drastic measures, perhaps even by declaring Martial Law or something similar. As this scenario is hypothetical, it is impossible to do more than guess at possible outcomes.

    Nevertheless, I would be willing to take the chance. Getting rid of Bush and Cheney is worth any risk, and what is still left of our Constitution should be sufficient to insure the survival of our Republic. We Americans are at our best when things seem the worst, and I believe that we would come together and pull our asses out of the fire and disasters that Bush and Cheney have gladly fed us into. We the People will survive.

    We must.