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A Billion in FEMA Relief Money Misspent

John on June 13, 2006 at 11:29 pm

Tuesday the AP published an account of testimony set to be delivered Wednesday before the House Homeland Security subcommittee on investigations. The (leaked) testimony consists of the results of an undercover GAO audit of FEMA spending in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The GAO found numerous outrageous cases of fraud:

The government doled out as much as $1.4 billion in bogus assistance to victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, getting hoodwinked to pay for season football tickets, a tropical vacation and even a divorce lawyer, congressional investigators have found.

Prison inmates, a supposed victim who used a New Orleans cemetery for a home address, and a person who spent 70 days at a Hawaiian hotel all were able to wrongly get taxpayer help…

The 1.4 billion figure is the upper limit suggested by the GAO, but they set the lower limit at 600 million, not exactly loose change even for Washington.

Of course I’m sure all the usual suspects will be using this as a new weapon against the President. But what this shows is not just the failure of a particular department (though it does show that, too), but the problems inherent in government run handout programs in general. And let’s not forget that these programs have by and large been favored by Democrats.

As an 11 year employee for the Social Security Administration, I’m quite familiar with how efficiently the government distributes money to the needy. There’s really nothing surprising about this story except the sheer scope of the waste and incompetence. But as long as the government insists on handing out checks, there will be con men and women happy to take them.

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Category: Absurd & Outrageous |

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