FEMA Chief Nearly Got Fired as Hurricane Brewed

Stacks upon stacks of bottled water sit near a runway in Ceiba Puerto Rico

Stacks upon stacks of bottled water sit near a runway in Ceiba Puerto Rico

Long has been using a staff driver from his department to drive him to and from North Carolina in an official vehicle since he first took over as head of FEMA past year.

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.

"If I remember, high tide is going to occur between 11 and 12 p.m. today, so it's only going to get worse as the system continues to file back", said Long. Bottom line is if we made mistakes on the way a program was run then we'll work with the OIG to get those corrected.

A senior administration official confirmed to CNN on Thursday that the inspector general's investigation includes, but may not be limited to, travel using government resources, and that would include Long's travel in government vehicles on the taxpayers' dime.

FEMA director of external affairs Jessica Nalepa said any questions regarding an investigation should be directed to the DHS IG, adding FEMA "fully cooperates with all investigations conducted by the DHS OIG".

During a Thursday briefing on Hurricane Florence, Long denied any wrongdoing to reporters and acknowledged an ongoing investigation from the DHS inspector general. "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.

Long reportedly began having a government driver take him home since he took control of FEMA previous year. Since his confirmation, the Administrator quickly earned the respect of the entire emergency management community, many in Congress and, most importantly, the FEMA workforce, during the most historic and challenging time in the agency's history.

Other Trump Administration officials have been investigated for ethics issues related to travel.

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned after his trips on private planes raised eyebrows. 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.

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