Amid allegations of cronyism with contractors, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson said he is resigning, effective April 18. Jackson has drawn heat from lawmakers over Justice Dept. probes into his possible connection to improperly awarded contracts. Senate banking committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) noted an Inspector General’s report that said Jackson advised HUD senior staff to improperly take political affiliation into account in awarding contracts.

The National Journal reported Jackson helped a friend win a contract in January 2006 for work with the Housing Authority of New Orleans. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) called Jackson’s responses to questions about the allegations at a recent hearing insufficient.