FEMA chief's dual challenge: huge hurricane and inspector general inquiry

FEMA chief's dual challenge: huge hurricane and inspector general inquiry

FEMA Director Brock Long not only has Florence to worry about but an investigation as well.

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.

Long said at a press conference Thursday morning that he will "fully cooperate" in an investigation into his alleged misuse of government resources for travel, an issue that has roiled several other former Trump Cabinet secretaries.

At a FEMA briefing on Thursday laying out the administration's plans for response to Hurricane Florence, Long told reporters in response to the Politico report, "Right now I am 100 precent focused on [Florence] and that's exactly where our attention needs to be from the standpoint of the life safety missions".

"I would never intentionally run a program incorrectly", Long added. "You know doing something unethical is not part of my DNA, and it's not part of my track record and my whole entire career, so, we'll work with the OIG to get anything corrected", Long said. Aides that went with him were put up in hotels at taxpayers' expense, one official told Politico. An investigation by the inspector general was triggered after Long was reportedly in an accident with one of the vehicles, a black Chevy Suburban.

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FEMA's James Joseph said even with all of its assets, there are limits to what it can do.

Jessica Nalepa, FEMA director of external affairs, also responded to the investigation saying FEMA "fully cooperates with all investigations conducted by the DHS OIG". She called Long "an experienced and respected emergency manager".

Both FEMA and Long were put in the hot seat Tuesday after Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of OR revealed government documents on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show that showed the Trump administration shifted money from FEMA to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

"This is a sorry attempt to push a false agenda at a time when the administration is focused on assisting millions on the East Coast facing a catastrophic disaster", Houston said. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt were all felled in part due to their own lavish travel scandals.

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