In My Right Mind

"We all do no end of feeling, and we mistake it for thinking." - Mark Twain

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"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take away everything you have." - Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, September 17, 2005

So, The Damage and Desolation Left By Katrina Is Bush's Fault. Oh Really? Not So Fast!!

A story published in the LA Times, found here, brings to light some damning evidence against the state of Louisiana's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. All of which undoubtedly puts the lion share of the blame for the inept evacuation and slow rescue response to the hurricane victims in New Orleans on the shoulders of the Governor of Louisiana where it most certainly belongs.

Here are some of the highlights from the story:

WASHINGTON — Senior officials in Louisiana's emergency planning agency already were awaiting trial over allegations stemming from a federal investigation into waste, mismanagement and missing funds when Hurricane Katrina struck.

And federal auditors are still trying to track as much as $60 million in unaccounted for funds that were funneled to the state from the Federal Emergency Management Agency dating back to 1998.

In March, FEMA demanded that Louisiana repay $30.4 million to the federal government.

The problems are particularly worrisome, federal officials said, because they involve the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the agency that will administer much of the billions in federal aid anticipated for victims of Katrina.

Earlier this week, federal Homeland Security officials announced they would send 30 investigators and auditors to the Gulf Coast to ensure relief funds were properly spent.

Details of the ongoing criminal investigations come from two reports by the inspector general's office in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which oversees FEMA, as well as in state audits, and interviews this week with federal and state officials.

The reports were prepared by the federal agency's field office in Denton, Texas, and cover 1998 to 2003. Improper expenditures previously identified by auditors include a parka, a briefcase and a trip to Germany.
Much of the FEMA money that was unaccounted for was sent to Louisiana under the Hazard Mitigation Grant program, intended to help states retrofit property and improve flood control facilities, for example.

The $30.4 million FEMA is demanding back was money paid into that program and others, including a program to buy out flood-prone homeowners. As much as $30 million in additional unaccounted for spending also is under review in audits that have not yet been released, according to a FEMA official.

Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington watchdog group, said recent Louisiana history showed that FEMA "money earmarked for saving lives and homes'' was instead squandered in "a cesspool of wasteful spending."

Louisiana's emergency office receives money directly from FEMA. It passes on much of the funding to local governments that apply for assistance.

The audit reports said state operating procedures increased the likelihood of fraud and corruption going undetected.

For instance, a Nov. 30, 2004, report by Tonda L. Hadley, a director in the Denton field office, examined $40.5 million sent to the Louisiana agency, mostly for the Hazard Mitigation program. The report found that the state's emergency office did not have receipts to account for 97% of the $15.4 million it had awarded to subcontractors on 19 major projects.

The report also said the Louisiana agency had misspent $617,787 between May 2000 and September 2003.

Questionable expenditures identified by the inspector general included $2,400 for sod installation, several thousand dollars for a trip to Germany by the deputy director, $1,071 for curtains, and $595 for an L.L. Bean parka and briefcase. The inspector general also challenged unspecified spending for camera equipment, professional dues and a 2002 Ford Crown Victoria.

For a more on this and the attempted cover-up read the whole story. There is definitely enough here to silence the nonsense out there that it was all Bush’s fault.

Gov. Blanco recently was beside herself with glee over the fact that Bush accepted responsibility for the ineptness in the evacuation and rescue of hurricane victims. It looks like she should have waited a bit longer before she decided to gloat. I’m willing to bet that the Louisiana Office of Homeland Defense and Emergency Preparedness falls under her jurisdiction. I’m also willing to bet that she knew all about the charges of fraud levied against that office.

Now we know why she was so reticent to accept the federal aid the Bush offered her both before and after Katrina hit. After all, how would it look to her voters if she had to go to the federal government for help because the state government had squandered all of the money and resources it had been provided for just such a natural disaster.

It seems Gov. Blanco felt it best to leave the citizens of New Orleans in a lurch and then try and blame it all on President Bush.

Gov Blanco is a democrat. Not only does this demonstrate the actual lack of care for the average American citizen that the liberal democrats have, (despite their claim that socialism and bigger government is all about "the little man"), it also demonstrates corruption of the character of leaders in the party.

How many more corrupt democrats are there out there pointing their fingers of blame at Bush hoping that their lies and corruption won’t be discovered?


Blogger James said...

That is a safe bet Clay. The state Homeland Defense Officials are appointed by the governors. Not the Feds.

Let me say that slowly for our liberal victims of public schools.

(Translation: George Bush had nothing to do with their appointments.)

5:00 AM  

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