FEMA administrator’s government vehicle use under investigation by DHS inspector general
A senior administration official confirmed to CNN on Thursday that there is an ongoing Department of Homeland Security inspector general investigation that includes FEMA administrator Brock Long. 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.
The news of the investigation comes as the east coast of the United States braces for Hurricane Florence.
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 first reported on Thursday
Long is driven seven days a week and 24 hours a day — so any of his movements are in government vehicles. This would also include travel to his home in Hickory, North Carolina.
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.
“I would never intentionally run a program incorrectly. Bottom line is if we made a mistakes on how a program is run, we’ll work with OIG to get those corrected,” Long said. “Doing something unethical is not part of my DNA, and not part of my track record and my whole entire career.”
Long said, however, that right now he is focused on the incoming hurricane.
CNN reached out to the DHS IG for comment and is awaiting a response.
FEMA director of external affairs Jessica Nalepa said any questions regarding an investigation should be directed to the DHS IG, adding FEMA “fully cooperates with all investigations conducted by the DHS OIG.”
“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. “Having worked directly with him for over a year, I know administrator Long to be an experienced and respected emergency manager.”
“All questions about any potential investigation by the Office of the Inspector General should be directed to the IG. At this time, we are fully focused on preparing for, responding to, and recovering from Hurricane Florence and the storms in the Pacific,” DHS press secretary Tyler Houlton told Politico in a statement.
According to Politico, one of the government vehicles Long used, a black Suburban, was involved in a wreck, prompting the IG to look into the matter.
At the beginning of his tenure at FEMA last year, Long started using a staff driver to get him back home to Hickory, North Carolina, according to Politico. Citing a current official, Politico also reported that aides were put up in a hotel at taxpayer expense on the weekends Long was in North Carolina.