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Matheson Blasts FEMA Over Wasting Taxpayer Dollars

Location: Washington, DC

Matheson Blasts FEMA Over Wasting Taxpayer Dollars

Congressman Jim Matheson has sent an angry letter to the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in reaction to a report the agency misspent millions of dollars meant for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

Matheson wrote to FEMA head R. David Paulison after reviewing a report by the Homeland Security Department's Inspector General.

"I am alarmed that $13 million that was originally supposed to go toward the purchase of FEMA trailers, or go back into the U.S. Treasury, went instead toward buying expensive SUVs, travel expenses and purchase card accounts," Matheson wrote. "The timing of the IG's report couldn't come at a worse time for your agency, following the news of dangerously high formaldehyde levels in travel trailers distributed by FEMA."

Matheson—a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dogs—wrote that FEMA has "not been a good steward of taxpayer resources." He noted that FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security have a checkered past guarding against the misuse of funds.

"In the summer of 2007, the Inspector General found that your agency spent the proceeds from trailer sales on tree-removal services, agency decals and banners and on global positioning systems," Matheson wrote.

Matheson requested a briefing from the FEMA administrator regarding steps being taken to remedy the problem as well as what FEMA proposes to do in an effort to prevent future waste.

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