April 9, 2007
R. David Paulison, Administrator
Federal Emergency Management Agency
500 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20472
Dear Director Paulison,
I am writing in follow-up to your March 16 decision denying Governor Henry's request for Individual Assistance (IA) under FEMA-1678-DR.
As you know, there has been considerable discussion in my state regarding FEMA's most recent decision, and several questions have arisen regarding the criteria used by the agency to determine IA eligibility. Pursuant to this, I am requesting that your agency report on the decision-making process used in ruling on FEMA-1678-DR, including all data used in determining eligibility and how this information compares to established IA thresholds.
As public confidence in the federal government continues to decline, I feel it is imperative for all federal agencies, and Congress for that matter, to conduct business in the most open, transparent manner possible. I have traveled all across Oklahoma, received hundreds of letters, emails and phone calls, and I can tell you that confidence in FEMA has been shaken. In your own travels across the nation, I am certain you are encountering many of the same concerns. Only through complete transparency, and a willingness to explain all decisions in detail, will public confidence be restored.
As the former chairman of the Federal Financial Management subcommittee, and now ranking member, I intend to seek aggressive oversight of all agencies who fail in this regard.
I thank you in advance for your prompt consideration, and look forward to answering any questions you may have.
Tom A. Coburn, MD
United States Senator