When FEMA administrator Brock Long started his job last year, he began to take routine trips home to North Carolina, using a government driver and vehicle to make the six-hour trek from Washington, D.C. An aide, who would stay in hotel room at taxpayer expense, would also accompany Long on these trips.
According to Politico, Long’s taxpayer-funded travel has become the subject of an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general, who took notice after a government vehicle was involved in an accident while in Long’s use. 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. One source told Politico that Nielsen suggested Long, who was traveling home too frequently for the secretary’s liking, resign over the issue.
Craig Fugate, FEMA administrator under President Obama, told Politico that he rarely used government vehicles in his eight years on the job. And in a tacit admission that Long should not have been doing so, he has stopped using government cars to drive him.
Long is the latest in a long line of Trump administration officials to come under fire for misusing government funds on travel. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt were all felled in part because of their own lavish travel scandals. But all is not lost for Long. He need only look at Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for examples of officials who misused taxpayer resources to jaunt around the country but have not suffered any consequences.