The inspector general of the Department of Housing and Urban Development has launched a probe of acting HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson for statements he made about union activities at a department meeting in October.Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., requested the investigation to determine whether then-Deputy Secretary Jackson violated internal HUD policies by making "ominous threats" and "intimidating" statements at the agency's Los Angeles field office on Oct. 20. In response to the request, HUD IG Kenneth Donohue said he has assigned his special investigations unit to determine whether Mr. Jackson's statements violated HUD's policies governing interpersonal conduct. (Several weeks ago, President Bush said he intends to nominate Mr. Jackson to be the new HUD secretary.) The IG said he would defer to the Federal Labor Relations Authority on labor relations matters. The FLRA has already ruled that Mr. Jackson violated a labor law when he made "extremely critical" statements about the employees' union. The FLRA has recommended a settlement, which Mr. Jackson accepted. The union has until Jan. 28 to accept the settlement. The Oct. 20 meeting was designed to motivate the employees, HUD spokesman Jerry Brown said. It was "not meant to be a confrontation with the union," he said. "Unfortunately, some people perceived it as threatening."

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