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Thursday, 13 September 2018

FEMA chief under scrutiny over government car use as storm approaches U.S.: Politico

FILE PHOTO: FEMA Administrator Brock Long listens as U.S. President Donald Trump holds an Oval Office meeting on preparations for hurricane Florence at the White House in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency is under investigation over his use of government vehicles, Politico reported on Thursday, as a massive hurricane approached the U.S. Southeast coast.
The Department of Homeland Security inspector general is probing FEMA Director Brock Long's travel between Washington and his home in North Carolina, the Politico report said, citing three people familiar with the matter.
Politico said Long began using a staff driver for those journeys when his term began last year, and that aides also traveled with him at taxpayer expense. It said the director now drives himself or flies back to the state.
In a statement, FEMA Director of External Affairs Jessica Nalepa referred any questions about the reported investigation to the DHS inspector general's office, and said the disaster agency cooperated with all such investigations.
Representatives for the inspector general and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Long is the latest Trump appointee to face scrutiny over his use of government resources.
Former Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt resigned in July amid a series of spending and other ethics-related controversies, and former health secretary, Tom Price, resigned in 2017 under pressure over his use of costly private planes for government business. U.S. government watchdogs have also chastised Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke over his spending.
FEMA, which coordinates the government's response to disasters, was bracing for Hurricane Florence to make landfall on Friday as the storm approached the Carolinas, threatening to bring days of pounding surf, torrential rain and severe flooding.

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