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WSJ: HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson Expected To Announce Resignation Monday

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson is expected to step down on Monday morning,according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

"The exact reasons for Mr. Jackson's decision couldn't be learned. Earlier this month, two Democratic senators, Patty Murray of Washington and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, sent a letter to President Bush urging him to request Mr. Jackson's resignation, arguing that accusations of wrongdoing had made him ineffective,' the WSJ reported.

Jackson has been involved in a controversy over a Philadelphia redevelopment project, with accusations aired in a lawsuit that Jackson tried to retaliate against a city agency after it refused to award a contract to one of his friends. Jackson and other HUD officials have denied any wrongdoing.

Jackson's expected departure comes at a critical time for the Bush administration and Congress as political leaders in Washington scramble to deal with the fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis. HUD oversees the Federal Housing Administration, a critical player in any federal response to the problems in the nation's housing market.

Nomination hearings on Jackson's replacement could provide a venue for Senate Democrats to attack the White House for its failure to properly regulate the subprime credit markets, while Republicans will counter that anyone President Bush chooses to replace Jackson - should he in fact step down - needs to be approved quickly in order to ensure a smooth transition at HUD. And with less than 10 months until President Bush leaves office, finding a suitable successor to Jackson may prove challenging.

Jackson, who was confirmed by the Senate in March 2004, had extensive experience as a housing administrator prior to taking over at HUD, holding senior positions in Dallas, St. Louis and Washington, D.C., before joining the department as deputy secretary in 2001, although his time at the agency has been controversial. HUD has been roundly criticized for failing to respond more aggressively to the housing problems in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Jackson also faced an internal investigastion by HUD's inspector general after he publicly suggested that he wouldn't award agency contracts to political enemies of the Bush administration. He was cleared following the IG probe.