FEMA chief under investigation over use of official cars

People are seen inside a shelter run by Red Cross before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Grantsboro North Carolina

People are seen inside a shelter run by Red Cross before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Grantsboro North Carolina

FEMA administrator Brock Long is the target of an ongoing Department of Homeland Security inspector general investigation into whether he misused government vehicles during his commutes to North Carolina from Washington, according to three people familiar with the matter, including current and former administration officials.

At the beginning of his tenure at FEMA previous year, Long started using a staff driver to get him back home to Hickory, North Carolina, according to Politico.

Long said the inspector general was looking into vehicle usage, but he didn't confirm that the review concerned his use of an official vehicle.

Long is the latest in a long line of Trump administration officials to come under fire for misusing government funds on travel.

Long seemed to have confirmed the investigation during a briefing on Thursday, saying that his office will "continue to fully cooperate with any investigation".

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"I would never intentionally run a program incorrectly", he continued. Doing something unethical is not part of my DNA and it's not a part of my track record in my whole entire career. The administrator's trips home to North Carolina have also drawn the ire of his boss, DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who reportedly confronted him about them this summer. "The Secretary is confident in the leadership at FEMA and their proven disaster management ability", DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton said in a statement to The Hill on Friday.

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.

"Right now, that money has nothing to do with what you see behind us", Long said from FEMA's response center in Washington. "FEMA fully cooperates with all investigations conducted by the DHS OIG". She called Long "an experienced and respected emergency manager". He is now overseeing the preparations for Hurricane Florence, which is expected to hit the Southeast hard.

Other Trump Administration officials have been investigated for ethics issues related to travel. Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin was sacked in March amid questionable travel charges and a growing rebellion in his agency about the privatization of medical care.

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