UPDATE–Another Recognition: And Edward Poundgets some well deserved recognition for all the heavy lifting he did alone on the Alphonso Jackson investigation before the big guys jumped in…verry late near the end:
Typical D.C. scandal cycle, you might assume.
But this time, for those who looked, there was something different.
While the Philadelphia story may have been the attention-grabbing final
nail in Jackson’s coffin, the basic carpentry was quietly done months
InOctober, November, andDecember, Edward Pound, an investigative reporter atThe National Journal,
produced a three-part series revealing that HUD’s inspector general was
investigating allegations that Jackson had secured a HUD job in New
Orleans for a lightly-qualified, out-of-state friend, and that the FBI,
the Justice Department, and a federal grand jury were involved. Pound
even got the contractor to tell him that, sure, Jackson had helped him
get the job.
On October 5, the day after Pound’s first HUD story appeared, The Washington Post published an unsigned, 150-word squib briefly recounting the charges.The New York Times weighed in with a 450-word article. Both citedThe National Journal. Those pieces would be the last mention of Jackson’s troubles in either paper until thePost
got on it’s Philadelphia story in February—four months later. All that
time, Pound continued to break news: that a company with financial ties
to Jackson was winning big contracts, that an Atlanta lawyer and
Jackson friend may have gotten $1 million to administer the Virgin
Islands Housing Authority, that Jackson’s chief of staff had resigned
under the investigation’s cloud.
“I was pretty much out there on my own. No doubt,” Pound toldCJR. “I was hoping other people would jump on the train. And they didn’t.”
Pound was vaguely tipped to the existence of the hush-hush inquiry by someone he considers a “good source.”
“It wasn’t one of those stories where you could call Justice and have it laid out for you,” he says. “It took digging.”
So much digging, Pound says, that after three or four days of
initial inquiries he got back in touch with his original tipster to
tell him he’d been wrong. After being reassured, he returned to the
He was able to link Jackson and one of the contractors after seeing
a Hilton Head newsletter that placed the secretary at a party at the
contractor’s house. Other sources suggested he look at the contractor
running the Virgin Islands Housing Authority—a local paper had noted
“A lot of this was digging and talking to people in HUD or who’d left HUD,” says Pound. “It’s nothing fancy.”
At no point, Pound says, did he receive a call from an outside
reporter or editor asking for a huddle or a signpost. “I think a lot of
people down here don’t give a damn about agencies. They’re interested
in politics and the horse race, and that’s an important story,” he
says. “But this is why we’re here.”
(h/t Athenae) And may I sayI wrote this back on February 2nd after months of watching the story not get the attention it deserved …
This story gets more and more interesting yet National Journal is the
only one covering it. Kudos to them…specifically Edward T. Pound but
where is everyone, err anyone, else? I mean weare talking
about a member of the President’s Cabinet, the head of a major federal
agency and one who is now becoming more involved in dealing with the
housing/mortgage crisis. Itwould be nice to know if the guy is a crook, would it not?
One thought on “Well deserved!”
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