FEMA Chief Under Probe for Using Official Cars

Chris Kleponis  SIPA  Newscom

Chris Kleponis SIPA Newscom

Seems Long has taken the 800-mile round-trip drive many times, spending 150 days of weekends and days off in North Carolina since he was hired in 2017.

"Having worked directly with him for over a year, I know Administrator Long to be an experienced and respected emergency manager", Jessica Nalepa, the spokeswoman, said in the statement.

"Right now, that money has nothing to do with what you see behind us", Long said from FEMA's response center in Washington.

The actions by Long, the US government's lead disaster official as the country braces for Hurricane Florence, have been called into question by the inspector general over whether taxpayers have inappropriately footed the bill for his travel, an issue that has tripped up a number of current and former top Trump administration officials.

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At a press briefing on Hurricane Florence Thursday morning, Long said he will "fully cooperate" in the investigation.

It is learned the DHS attorneys had informed Long late a year ago about the law violations of his trips the caravan was tailed too in finding whether he was misusing resources even after the warnings.

"Secretary Nielsen has never asked me to resign", he said.

The news of the investigation comes as the east coast of the United States braces for Hurricane Florence. "Bottom line is, if we made a mistake on how a program is run, we'll work with the OIG to get those corrected".

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An investigation by the inspector general was triggered after Long was reportedly in an accident with one of the vehicles, a black Chevy Suburban.

Meanwhile, a DHS spokesman said in a released statement now the agency is more focused Hurricane Florence and the response preparations. "Doing something unethical is not part of my DNA, and not part of my track record and my whole entire career".

"All questions about any potential investigation by the Office of the Inspector General should be directed to the [inspector general]".

"The secretary is confident in the leadership at FEMA and their proven disaster management ability", he added. Its responses to past hurricanes - particularly Maria and Katrina, which both had death tolls in the thousands - have been the subject of severe criticism. Former EPA head Scott Pruitt, for example, was forced to resign over his travel habits.

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