FEMA administrator Brock Long’s misuse of government vehicles and employees has cost taxpayers $151,000, according to an inspector general’s report leaked to The Wall Street Journal.
Long racked up the bill by using government-owned Suburbans and government staffers to make the six-hour drive between Washington, D.C., and his home in North Carolina. He also incurred some of the expense while on a trip to Hawaii that involved both official business and leisure time with his family.
According to the IG, Long remained in Hawaii after meeting with state officials and a FEMA aide “provided transportation to Long and his family in a vehicle rented by the U.S. government.”
All told, Long’s unauthorized travel expenses included $94,000 in salary for drivers, $55,000 in travel costs, and $2,000 for maintenance of the vehicles he used. One of the vehicles was also involved in a crash, which is what first triggered the IG’s interest in the administrator’s travel habits.
Long, who said Friday he accepts “full responsibility for any mistakes that were made by me,” hasn’t been punished for his transgressions. Others have though. FEMA aide Keith Lafoucade, the one who drove Long around Hawaii, was suspended after destroying evidence about the trip in order to throw off the IG. Another FEMA official, John Veach, has been suspended too.
Long, who has promised to reimburse the federal government, still enjoys the “full confidence” of his boss, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.