News Releases

Murray Blasts Administration for Partisan Favoritism in Contract Awards

Sep 22 2006

In letter to White House Chief of Staff, Senator expresses outrage over HUD Secretary's suggestions

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), today wrote to White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten expressing her outrage at the pattern and practice of political favoritism within the Administration when it comes to government and agency grants and contracts.

As the highest ranking Democrat on the Senate Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development and the Judiciary Subcommittee (TTHUD), Murray requested an investigation by the HUD Inspector General as to whether political interference has influenced contract awards at HUD. Her request followed the public suggestion by HUD Secretary Jackson that he had decided to rescind a contract award based on the prospective contractor's political views.

"At a time of war, with resources stretched thin and our nation demanding the best from its public servants, I'm sure you'll agree that there is no place for this type of activity in the awarding of jobs or public dollars," Murray wrote to Bolten. "Taxpayers deserve nothing less than integrity in this process and assurance that federal dollars are being allocated effectively and wisely."

Unfortunately, the Inspector General's report included sworn statements from HUD personnel stating that:

  • Secretary Jackson issued verbal directives to his Assistant Secretaries and other senior staff to monitor the political affiliation of contract competitors and consider those affiliations in the awarding of those contracts;

  • Secretary Jackson expressed his belief that a certain HUD contractor had strong political affiliations that were not supportive of the President, the Secretary did not want that contractor to receive any additional HUD contracts and that contractor’s contract award was subjected to an unusual extent of delay and review as a result of the Secretary’s stated biases;

  • Secretary Jackson intervened on other occasions in the contracting process. According to a review of the IG, “reviews of political contributions indicated these contractors had Democratic political affiliations.”

"This type of conduct is appalling at any level of government, but seeing it performed by a member of the president's cabinet who is responsible for administrating and directing hundreds of millions of dollars of public money is inexcusable," Murray wrote. "I hope that the Administration shares these principles and I urge you to take the appropriate steps to address these concerns immediately."

Murray's letter to Bolten