- Federal prosecutors are handling an investigation into FEMA director Brock Long’s use of government vehicles. The inquiry stems from concerns about Long driving the vehicles home during off-hours.
- The prosecutors will determine whether Long and two other employees using government vehicles to travel from Washington, DC, to his home in North Carolina violated any federal laws.
- Long strongly denied any wrongdoing regarding his use of the vehicles, and pushed back on reports he had been asked to resign during a Sunday morning appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Federal prosecutors are handling an investigation into FEMA director Brock Long’s use of government vehicles. The inquiry stems from concerns about Long driving the vehicles home during off-hours, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
Long and two other FEMA officials are accused of using government vehicles for personal travel between Washington, DC, and Long’s home in North Carolina at the taxpayer’s expense. The probe into Long’s actions has thus far been handled by FEMA’s inspector general.
Early on Monday, the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform launched their own investigation into Long. Chairman Trey Gowdy requested Long provide documentation about the vehicles and details on other government officials who may have been on the trips to the Committee.
Federal prosecutors will now determine whether or not to bring criminal charges against Long’s alleged conduct, people familiar with the investigation told the Journal. It is not yet clear whether prosecutors in Washington, DC, or North Carolina are conducting the inquiry, or what charges they are weighing bringing against him.
The congressional and criminal probes come as Long is currently leading the agency’s response to Hurricane Florence, which has affected millions on the coasts of North and South Carolina.
The negative publicity around Long’s travel led Trump administration officials to consider firing Long as recently as last Friday, and replacing him with another administrator – even as Florence barreled towards the East Coast.
FEMA officials who spoke about the probe on the condition of anonymity to The New York Times defended Long’s use of government’s vehicles for personal travel, explaining those vehicles include “classified communications equipment” that the FEMA administrator must have access to at all times per agency protocol.
The officials who have travelled with Long on his trips home also said they paid to stay at close by hotels using taxpayer money.
Long strongly denied any wrongdoing regarding his use of the vehicles, and pushed back on reports he had been asked to resign during a Sunday morning appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“These vehicles are designed to provide secure communications and the program was actually developed in 2008 – it ran for me the same way it’s run for anybody else,” Long said. “And you know, it’s my understanding that maybe some policies were not developed around these vehicles.”
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