FEMA's Administrator Is Under Investigation for His Travel Habits

FEMA confirmed the investigation just one day after admitting to leaving nearly a million water bottles for storm victims on an airstrip.


|||Chris Kleponis/SIPA/Newscom
Chris Kleponis/SIPA/Newscom

Just a day after it was reported that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) managed to misplace nearly a million bottles of water that were supposed to be delivered to the Puerto Rican victims of Hurricane Maria, the agency was thrown into another controversy based on Administrator Brock Long's travel habits.

According to Politico, Long is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General over whether he used official government vehicles and personnel, and by extension, taxpayer funds, to make personal six-hour drives on the weekends from Washington, D.C., to his home in Hickory, North Carolina. The investigation began after a government-issued black Suburban was involved in an accident.

Long, who has served in his position since June 2017, also reportedly drew the attention of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for absences in the office, apparently due to his frequent travel home. Nielsen was said to have confronted Long to tell him that agency resources were not to be used for his personal trips.

The investigation was confirmed by the agency. "FEMA fully cooperates with all investigations conducted by the DHS [Office of the Inspector General]," Jessica Nalepa, FEMA director of external affairs, wrote in a statement given to CBS News. Long also said in a Thursday press briefing that he "would never intentionally run a program incorrectly" and intended to cooperate with the investigation.

FEMA has a long history of mismanagement and wasteful spending, particularly in response to the very disaster with which they are tasked to help. This has included giving money to the wrong people, operating with outdated IT systems, and wasting billions on "duplicate payments, unsupported costs, improper contract costs, and unauthorized expenditures." According to FEMA's own "After-Action Report," the agency concluded that it was unprepared to deal with Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, which took the lives of nearly 3,000 people.

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  1. “Just a day after it was reported that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) managed to misplace nearly a million bottles of water”

    My understanding is that this is not what actually happened, i.e., a lie by the author.

    1. Any stick will do to beat a dog.

    2. There is no definitive answer. FEMA left a million bottles of water at the airport and no one picked them up. FEMA implies that the local government was supposed to pick them up. I have heard nothing of what the local government says. Did FEMA just write an internal memo and never tell the local government? Were the local phone lines down and the FEMA rep never had time to make a second call or send mail or make a personal trip into town to tell someone face to face? Were conditions so chaotic that the FEMA staff had to leave and forgot to call when they got back home? Did a local staffer take a phone call and get distracted and forget to write down the message or tell anybody?

      I have seen nothing one way or another. Regardless, FEMA brought them in, and even if the locals screwed things up, FEMA should have followed through when they got no confirmation. They should not be in the habit of dropping off 1M bottles of water and not following up.

  2. Just a day after it was reported that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) managed to misplace nearly a million bottles of water that were supposed to be delivered to the Puerto Rican victims of Hurricane Maria,


    They left them exactly where they were supposed to and PUERTO RICO failed to distribute them as was THEIR job.

    FEMA doesn’t replace local government. In PR, it should have — but that is not its job. It’s job is to work WITH local government. And they did. They got them supplies. Lots of them,

    If this happened in 2015, nobody writing at Reason would’ve blamed Obama. Not one person.

    And I’m thrilled the obsession over abuse of resources investigated over the last 20 months. I am curious why there was so little concern the prior 8 years, however.

    1. How do you know it was the locals who screwed up and not FEMA? And shouldn’t FEMA have followed up on the supplies they dropped off?

      See my comment above. I don’t claim to know the answer, or if the answer has been widely disseminated. Maybe it is definitively PR’s screwup. But FEMA has a long history of screwing things up.

      1. Because FEMA is not there to replace the local government. If housing is needed, they provide housing. They do not pick and choose who gets it. Local authorities handle that.

        If food or water is needed, they supply it. They do not distribute it. The local authorities are there to do that.

        1. The locals have to know it’s there and that is is for them. Did FEMA tell them? No one seems to know.

          1. FEMA told the local government. That is who they were supposed to tell.

          2. If FEMA drops off that much water on the airport tarmac, which would have required several flights, and local officials did not know about it, then the they are a bunch of dumbshits. How could they possibly have not known about that much commotion going on at the local airport? You would think that some local official would surely have noticed that mountain of water bottles sitting there.

  3. Guy Appointed by Trump Under Investigation

    Film at Eleven

    1. It’s another reason Trump is awesome.

      Trump is using his appointees to bring attention to how under-investigated and wasteful all these government agencies are.

      Since Congress wont let him cut these agency budgets, he decided to get everyone mad at the agencies, so they might force Congress to shut them down.

      1. “Trump is using his appointees to bring attention to how under-investigated and wasteful all these government agencies are.”

        This is some next level 32 dimensional chess

        1. This is some next level 32 dimensional chess

          What’s the difference between 32 dimensional chess and Calvinball?

          He ran as an outsider intending to drain the swamp. Unlike the previous administration who espoused a policy of ‘Team of Rivals’ he’s actually picking people who hate the administration they work for, hate the department they’re in responsible for, and hate their peers. Do you think Hillary Clinton would’ve called Obama a moron? Powell call Bush a moron?

          He did try to cut some of these agencies funding and plenty of others he’s expressed disdain for and put assholes in charge. Intentional or not, it’s no worse than the previous administrations putting assholes in charge and then covering for them.

          1. Trump has a personnel pool problem too. Few want to work in government to roll back government when they now know the media will lie, harass them personally, and generally do anything to protect the bureaucracy.

            Trump seems to be fine with cabinet members rolling government back and quitting in 6 -12 months.

            I think its fine too. The media underestimated this Trump strategy, as they thought threatening Trump cabinet members would shut down Trump rollbacks completely.

            1. Few want to work in government

              Plenty of people are civic-minded and inclined toward public service. Most presidents have had scant trouble finding suitable candidates for White House or important departmental positions.

              Relatively few people are willing to derail their careers and bankrupt their reputations in the Trump administration, however, which is how George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Anthony Scaramucci, Steve Bannon, Hope Hicks, Stephen Miller, Dan Scavino, Keith Schiller, Ivanka Trump, Omarosa, Jared Kushner, and the like reached the White House.

              1. You misspelled “money-grubbing” and “scams”.

            2. Other president allow government service to be used like a piggy bank.

              I think its great when all those lefty quit the government and lose their pensions.

              Trump is saving millions.

      2. He’s doing a fabulous job showing how terrible the presidency can be.

        1. Tony, your opinion is worthless drivel. You thought he was doing the worse job possible as president on January 18, 2017

          Trump would have to do oodles worse to get to the level of ‘terrible presidency’ as: Obama, Booosh, Clinton, Carter, Nixon, LBJ, JFK, and FDR.

          1. You sure you don’t want to go with “He’s cleverly demonstrating the perils of the US presidential system by deliberately being more incompetent and corrupt than anyone ever thought possible”?

            1. Yeah, Obama was pretty incompetent.

              1. And extremely corrupt.

              2. And extremely corrupt.

        2. Even funnier is that according to Tony, Trump is terrible, yet Trump still beat Hillary and Sanders.

          According to Tony, Trump is incompetent, yet Trump still beat Hillary and Sanders

          1. Your first post had me almost finally convinced that you’re a parody. But then you get so desperate and stupid.

          2. Tony has been a parody for so long he thing people are responding to him when they are responding over him.

  4. Shocking, isn’t it, that FEMA – a government agency – is so unprepared to do its required tasks. Hell, in eight years, the Obama FEMA didn’t notice that Puerto Rico had no plans for any hurricane above a Cat.1. Let’s blame Trump instead of the bureaucratic culture that neither party is prepared to identify, confront, and eliminate.

    1. As good conservatives, in the Reason mold, one must avoid placing blame on a noble bureaucracy and instead acknowledge that the only real problem with government is that the wrong top men are in charge.

      We don’t need your alt-right talking points about how government is inherently dysfunctional.

    2. Hell, in eight years, the Obama FEMA didn’t notice that Puerto Rico had no plans for any hurricane above a Cat.1.

      They were too busy putting up windmills in CA to adapt to the changing climate.

      1. And killing eagles, don’t forget the dead eagles.

  5. What I gather is that FEMA only performs well under Democratic administrations. Naturally a cynic would say that government is by definition dysfunctional and we only hear about these stories under Republican administrations because it is the only time the news media bothers to report on these issues. A cynic might also contend that this selective outrage distracts from the fact that FEMA is an inherently dysfunctional department and its legality is questionable at best.

    But as a good conservative, in the Reason mold, I am apt to defend the status quo blindly. And therefore, I love FEMA and hope that we just get the right top men to fix the department.

  6. So putting a bunch of federal agencies under the newly created DHS did not make the government more efficient?

    Color me shocked.

  7. A good story might be one about the people who were actually running things in Puerto Rico.

    1. Unless they could be somehow connected with Trump, Reason and the rest of the media won’t mention them.

    2. Puerto Rico is run by Democrats, so Reason will never do hard-hitting stories on those assclowns running P.R.

      1. Neither the current resident commissioner nor the current governor of Puerto Rico is a Democrat.

        Other than that, great comment.

        1. The current commissioner is Jenniffer Gonz?lez-Col?n of the New Progressive Party (PNP).

          Even more Lefty…hahaha

    3. Vampire capitalists in New York?

      1. Keep shilling.

        1. Historically large hurricanes that can destroy the infrastructure of an entire state or territory are typically considered federal concerns.

          Sorry Republicans are terrible at governing, but they do try to tell you that before you vote.

          1. Tony’s idea of ‘governing’ is absolute rule. He is right, Republicans are NOT good at that.

            Democrats like them some Police and Nanny State though.

            1. “I refuse to take your water and shelter, as I do not support a nanny state.”

              –Ayn Rand after a hurricane, I’m sure

              1. What do locals do when the resources are delivered but not yet distributed? Wait? Do nothing until the federals step up? This makes sense to you?

                1. They go to natural water sources and get poisoned to death because they have no option. The hurricane did not spare a robust and functional transportation infrastructure.

                  1. At least you have admitted that they know better than to rely on local Democrat officials to help them.

                  2. Again, unless you’re calling for the Feds to depose the entire Puerto Rican government and run the island as a colony, what is your plan here?

              2. Same thing she said about taking social security.
                If you’ve already paid for it, why refuse it?
                The burglar returns a portion of what was stolen; you’re going to say ‘no thanks’?

            2. People could prepare for natural disasters themselves and their communities and states.

              FEMA is another federal agency that I have never used.

              1. What a fun exercise this has been responding to people whose main concern following news of 3,000 dead Americans is making excuses for Donald fucking Trump.

                1. Not as much fun as watching you defend the Democrats who were elected to be responsible for helping those 3000 people, but fattened themselves and them abdicated that responsibility.

                2. Tony hates that Donald fucking Trump is so awesome and getting more popular by the minute.

                  1. Someone is tracking his favorability by the minute, and it’s going in the opposite direction of every other poll?

                    1. Poor Lefties track Trump’s popularity going up every minute and cause them to react every hour.

          2. And by ‘historically’ you mean fairly recent history. Not like Industrial Age, Vietnam-era, or even really Cold War era ‘historically’.

            1. I’ve lived in Florida for 45 years. Tony is straight up lying about federal responsibility for hurricanes.

          3. Distributing resources locally are typically not federal concerns. The water was delivered by federal employees. They did their job.

            1. An incredible, unsung success story.

              1. Yes it is hard to sing about it when fools like you are screeching so loudly to mask your party’s incompetence. It’s called a heckler’s veto, and you’re doing it right now.

                1. There’s always going to be a Democrat somewhere for you idiots to blame instead of the guy whose desk the buck is supposed to stop at.

                  1. And in Puerto Rico there are many and they are in charge. You seem happy to let them off the hook for shirking their responsibility as long as you can blame Trump.

                    1. Democrats who are running Puerto Rico – “The buck stops… over there!”


                  2. Tony equates Democrat incompetence and non-Democrats quietly doing their jobs.

                    1. I agree with Tony here, it was a mistake to believe the elected officials of Puerto Rico would be of any use and the Federal agencies should have known that.

          4. Historically large hurricanes that can destroy the infrastructure of an entire state or territory are typically considered federal concerns.

            Hard to destroy what ain’t there. The electric problems far predated the hurricane. And the Feds job — and calling it their “job” is a stretch — is to provide resources. The local government’s job is to allocate them as needed since, you know, they are supposed to be experts and have something resembling a plan in place to deal with problems.

            But, like with New Orleans, we cannot blame the local government that screwed the pooch so badly that her asshole still hasn’t fully puckered close. Gotta blame the Feds.

            1. Why not? You blame them for everything else.

              Anyone going for the “Democrats made up the 3,000 figure to make Trump look bad” line?

              (Even Trump seems to think that it makes him look bad.)

              1. Why not? You blame them for everything else.

                My state is being hit by a hurricane in the next couple of hours. It will continue to be hit by it for three days. This fat bitch ain’t moving.

                If we have supplies left at an airport instead of provided to the needy, I will not blame FEMA. I’d blame Gov. McMaster. That is the job of the LOCAL government. THEY are supposed to have plans in place for dealing with issues like this. They are the ones who are to be prepared for these events. FEMA is not a first responder. They are simply a supplier of needs as requested by the local government.

                Guess the Left’s recent love of federalism doesn’t extend out to expecting them to be competent.

                And, as lc pointed out, the lack of a spike of deaths year-to-year indicates the study is flawed.

                1. But the hurricane deaths were just tallied.

                  1. No, they were ESTIMATED.

                    3000 dead bodies on an island are hard to avoid.

            2. Death rate barely changed from year to year in Puerto Rico
              P.R. yearly death rate

              1. So the local Democrats were competent?

                And Trump is wrong to think this death toll makes him look bad?

                1. Clearly there was no 3000 death toll that was anything but what normally happens in P.R.

                    1. The hurricane didnt raise the rate of yearly deaths in PR.

      2. “Vampire capitalist”

        OK, Naomi Klein

  8. Obama’s FEMA dealt with Hurricane Sandy at least as ineptly as Trump’s handled Maria. And that was in the USA proper, not an unincorporated territory. But nobody was tracking bottled water then. Instead we got the heartwarming image of Chris Christie bear hugging The Light Bringer.

  9. Somehow I think that if a million bottles of water were at my airport I would have noticed it. In any case it looks like there wasn’t much of a handoff between FEMA and PR.

  10. FEMA mismanaged? Who would have thunk, I mean after all it’s a government agency and it is here to help.

  11. Brock Long is a very suggestive name.

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