Published 10:23 AM EDT Sep 13, 2018
As Hurricane Florence nears the southeast coast, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency is the subject of an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security inspector general looking into his use of government vehicles for personal travel, according to a report from Politico Thursday.
Citing three unnamed sources, Politico said the DHS IG is investigating whether administrator Brock Long "misused government resources and personnel" on his weekend commutes back home to Hickory, N.C.
Long reportedly began having a government driver take him home since he took control of FEMA last year. Aides that went with him were put up in hotels at taxpayers' expense, one official told Politico.
Long addressed the investigation Thursday, telling reporters, "Every day we work closely with the OIG and the (Government Accountability Office)" and "we'll continue to fully cooperate with any investigation that moves forward."
"I would never intentionally run a program incorrectly," he continued. "If we made mistakes with the way a program was run, then we’ll work with OIG to get this corrected. Doing something unethical is not part of my DNA and it’s not part of my track record in my whole entire career."
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The news site said Long's travel was already the source of tension between him and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Nielsen confronted Long about the issue at a meeting in late August.
FEMA is already under scrutiny as the potentially devastating Hurricane Florence prepares to make landfall along the Carolina coast. Its responses to past hurricanes – particularly Maria and Katrina, which both had death tolls in the thousands – have been the subject of severe criticism.
Politico said FEMA directed questions about the probe to the IG's office, which did not respond to the news organization's request for comment.
Contributing: Ledyard King, USA TODAY