Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson told key HUD officials and senior staff members to monitor and consider the political affiliation of contract competitors, according to an investigation by the agency's Office of Inspector General.Mr. Jackson also allegedly intervened in the contracting process, suggesting that if a Department of Housing and Urban Development contractor "had strong political affiliations that were not supportive of the president" they would not receive any additional agency contracts. The findings by the IG's office were contained in a letter written by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., to White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten. The IG's office would not comment, and has yet to release its findings to the public. Sen. Murray is the ranking member on a subcommittee that oversees HUD. Despite the allegations raised, HUD issued a statement saying the IG's office "found no direct evidence that political favoritism played any role in the awarding of grants or contracts by the Secretary of HUD or any of his subordinates." In her letter to the White House, Sen. Murray said she is "deeply concerned" about Secretary Jackson's "directives to HUD senior staff."

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