FEMA chief’s use of official cars investigated: report

FEMA chief’s use of official cars investigated: report
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Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long is under investigation for potential misuse of federal resources, according to a new report.

Several current and former FEMA officials told Politico that Long faces an inspector general investigation over his use of government vehicles and staff to drive him from his office in Washington, D.C., to his home more than six hours away in North Carolina.

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During the weekend trips to the state, government vehicles were reportedly used by Long and staffers, who were put up at taxpayer expense at a nearby hotel.

Agency directives allow for Long to have a contingency aide with him to ensure secure communications with the government in case of an emergency, Politico noted. But Long's frequent trips to North Carolina fell under scrutiny after one of the vehicles he used, a government-registered black Chevrolet Suburban, was involved in an accident, it added.

The contingency aide program, meant for allowing Long to remain in contact with his agency, “was never intended for this purpose,” a former official told the news outlet.

Long's travel habits have brought him into direct conflict with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenUS to prioritize attacks against foreign adversaries under new cyber strategy Paddlers sue Trump over frequent golf visits shutting down the Potomac River FEMA administrator nearly quit amid feud with DHS chief: report MORE, according to the officials, who told Politico that Nielsen confronted Long about his travel habits late last month and asked him to consider resigning.

Long did not resign, and officials with the Homeland Security Department declined to comment to Politico on the status of his investigation. FEMA has since amended its travel policy to scale back the contingency aide program, according to the news site, meaning that Long has since begun driving himself, the news outlet added.

The Trump administration's management of FEMA has come into scrutiny amid the approach of Hurricane Florence, a Category 3 hurricane threatening the East Coast. Nearly 3,000 people died on Puerto Rico last year following Hurricane Maria.

“All questions about any potential investigation by the Office of the Inspector General should be directed to the [inspector general]. At this time, we are fully focused on preparing for, responding to, and recovering from Hurricane Florence and the storms in the Pacific," Homeland Security spokesman Tyler Houlton told Politico.

“The secretary is confident in the leadership at FEMA and their proven disaster management ability," he added.