Gowdy asks FEMA administrator for travel information
House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy asked FEMA administrator Brock Long on Monday for information and documents regarding Long’s use of government property during personal trips since he has been head of the agency that manages disaster relief.
In a letter, Gowdy also asks for information about any FEMA administration officials who have accompanied him on personal trips.
Last week, the Department of Homeland Security inspector general confirmed to CNN that it is investigating Long’s use of government vehicles. The investigation includes, but may not be limited to, travel using government resources, and that would include the administrator’s travel in government vehicle on the taxpayer’s dime, the source told CNN. The investigation was first reported by Politico.
Long is driven seven days a week and 24 hours a day — so any of his movements are in government vehicles. This would also include travel to his home in Hickory, North Carolina.
FEMA did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment regarding Gowdy’s letter.
At a news conference addressing the agency’s response to Hurricane Florence on Thursday, Long said that he would “never intentionally run a program incorrectly.”
“Bottom line is if we made a mistake on how a program is run, we’ll work with OIG to get those corrected,” Long said at the press conference. “Doing something unethical is not part of my DNA, and not part of my track record and my whole entire career.”
Questions about the IG investigation into Long have hung over FEMA as the agency seeks to handle the response to Hurricane Florence.
On Sunday, Long told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he does not plan to resign. He also said Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen had not asked for his resignation.
“Secretary Nielsen has never asked me to resign,” Long said. “We have a very functional and professional relationship. We talk every day. We are both solely focused on Florence.”
The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the White House had considered replacing Long before Hurricane Florence hit the East Coast in light of the inspector general’s investigation.
A spokesperson for the House Oversight Committee said lawmakers wanted to make sure that the focus remained on Hurricane Florence before making the request.
The spokesperson told CNN that since the hurricane’s initial effects were abating, and Brock Long appeared ready to answer questions on the Sunday shows, they decided to send the letter.
Gowdy’s letter asked Long to “identify each time” he has “used a government-owned or government-leased vehicle” during his time at FEMA for “personal reasons.” It also asks Long to provide “names of all FEMA staff who accompanied” him on those trips.
The letter requests “all documents and communications referring or relating to FEMA employees being tasked with accompanying you on trips to or from North Carolina.”
Gowdy asked that Long return the requested information to the committee by October 1.