FEMA administrator under investigation for travel, use of government cars

16 September, 2018, 13:37 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • President Donald Trump left listens to a reporters question as FEMA Administrator Brock Long center and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen right listen during a briefing on Hurricane Florence in the Oval Office of the White House in Washin

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) revealed this week that President Trump's Department of Homeland Security (DHS) transferred almost $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) budget to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) right at the beginning of the busy hurricane season.

The DHS IG is examining whether Long misused government vehicles and personnel for his six-hour drives between his home in North Carolina and FEMA headquarters in Washington, DC, Politico reported.

The investigation includes, but may not be limited to, travel using government resources, and that would include the administrator's travel in government vehicles on the taxpayer's dime, the source told CNN.

According to unnamed current and former Trump administration officials, Nielsen has confronted Long about his schedule in the past few months, but sources conflict over whether the secretary asked the administrator to resign.

"I would never intentionally run a program incorrectly", Long added.

Brock Long discussed the investigation, first reported by Politico, at a briefing on Hurricane Florence, saying he would cooperate and own up to any mistakes. To date, Kraninger and the White House have refused to release documents related to her role on these issues to Senators or groups that have filed public records requests.

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"Administrator Long and the FEMA workforce are focused on preparing for, responding to, and recovering from Hurricane Florence and other active tropical systems", Nalepa said in a statement on Twitter in response to the Politico report.

Politico said Long began using a staff driver for his trips home from Washington when his term began previous year, and that aides also traveled with him at taxpayer expense.

At the beginning of his tenure at FEMA past year, Long started using a staff driver to get him back home to Hickory, North Carolina, according to Politico.

"Having worked directly with him for over a year, I know Administrator Long to be an experienced and respected emergency manager".

Long's use of official cars for suspected personal trips has drawn the attention of the DHS inspector general. Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's spending of taxpayer dollars also came under scrutiny, as did the travel expenses of former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin's travel.

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