White House officials discussing potential replacements for FEMA chief: report

White House officials discussing potential replacements for FEMA chief: report
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White House officials in recent days have reportedly been discussing possible replacements for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) head Brock Long.

The Wall Street Journal reports that senior officials have discussed replacing Long, who was appointed to the position last year by President TrumpDonald John TrumpAustralia recognizes West Jerusalem as Israeli capital, won't move embassy Mulvaney will stay on as White House budget chief Trump touts ruling against ObamaCare: ‘Mitch and Nancy’ should pass new health-care law MORE, due to an investigation into the FEMA chief's potential misuse of federal resources.

A White House official told the Journal that chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE has decided to leave Long in place until a final report on his conduct becomes available. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill on Friday.

It was reported earlier this week that Long is facing 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 in North Carolina. Staffers were then put up in hotels at taxpayer expense. 

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The investigation involved surveilling Long as he was driven along the more than six-hour commute, according to the Journal. The investigation has found that Long often travels with a caravan of federal workers and has spent roughly 150 days in North Carolina since taking the job in June 2017. 

Politico reported this week that Long was told last year that his trips violated the law and that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenNo reason to assume American relations with Mexico are rocky DHS watchdog launches probe into death of 7-year-old migrant girl Dems demand probe into death of 7-year-old in DHS custody MORE asked him to consider resigning.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general is also probing communications between Long and a FEMA contractor that may include discussions about future employment, a source told the Journal. 

The reported investigation comes as FEMA prepares its response to Florence, a hurricane bearing down on the Carolinas that was downgraded to a tropical storm on Friday.

“At this time, we are fully focused on preparing for, responding to, and recovering from Hurricane Florence and the storms in the Pacific. The Secretary is confident in the leadership at FEMA and their proven disaster management ability,” DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton said in a statement to The Hill on Friday.

Misuse of government resources has come back to haunt past Trump administration officials.

Former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittEPA to pursue final 'science transparency' rule in 2019 Trump administration to unveil strategy for fighting lead exposure Overnight Energy — Sponsored by the National Biodiesel Board — Court blocks Atlantic coast pipeline | Kerry calls Trump climate actions 'profoundly dangerous' | EPA asked to investigate Pruitt Fox News hits MORE was forced to resign in July over government spending that included purchasing first-class flight tickets and using charter and military jets for personal purpose. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PriceOssoff tests waters for Georgia Senate run Overnight Health Care: Top Trump refugee official taking new HHS job | Tom Price joins new Georgia governor's transition | FDA tobacco crackdown draws ire from the right Ex-health chief Price joins new Georgia governor's transition team MORE also resigned last year over his use of private and military jets.