HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, his tenure tarnished by allegations of political favoritism and a criminal investigation, announced his resignation Monday amid the wreckage of the national housing crisis.
He leaves behind a trail of unanswered questions about whether he tilted the Department of Housing and Urban Development toward Republican contractors and cronies.
The move comes at a shaky time for the economy, with soaring mortgage foreclosures imperiling the nation’s credit markets.
In announcing that his last day at HUD will be April 18, Jackson said only, “There comes a time when one must attend more diligently to personal and family matters.”
Some Congressional Democrats had pushed for him to leave.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton said that while Jackson’s resignation is “appropriate, it does nothing to address the Bush administration’s wait-and-don’t-see posture to our nation’s housing crisis.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said HUD will be called on to work with Congress on assisting refinancing for borrowers faced with imminent foreclosure.
The ethical allegations against Jackson “meant that the Bush administration’s ineffective housing policies were being burdened by an even more ineffective HUD Secretary,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said after Jackson’s announcement.
President Bush called Jackson “a strong leader and a good man.” Ties between the two men go back to the 1980s when they lived in the same Dallas neighborhood. It was Jackson’s personal ties to Bush that brought him to Washington, where he displayed a forceful personal style at HUD for seven years, first as the agency’s No. 2 official and since 2004 in the top slot.