Tuesday, July 6, 2010

FEMA Workers Blow Disaster Funds!

FEMA Workers Blow Disaster Funds on Birthday Gift Cards

Via the Hirschen Left Coast Report/Newsmax

by James Hirschen

Employees at the Federal Emergency Management Agency ran up more than $247,100 in “improper” expenses using FEMA credit cards — including $4,318 for two “Happy Birthday” gift cards.
The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General examined purchases between October 2007 and June 2009 by FEMA employees who used “disaster-purchase” credit cards provided by the agency.
“Disaster purchase cards can be used only for disaster needs, using disaster funding, and are the preferred method to pay for disaster-related micro-purchases,” a report from the inspector general stated.
“With more effective internal controls, FEMA could have prevented more than $247,100 of improper purchases or detected them more quickly.”
Among the purchases deemed improper:
  • Two “Happy Birthday” gift cards, each for $2,159, were bought with funds designated for Hurricane Ike disaster relief operations in Texas.
  • 19 portable ceramic heaters were purchased for $1,098 with funds allocated for disaster relief efforts in Oklahoma. Homeland Security prohibits cardholders from buying personal convenience items such as heaters, according to the report.
  • 360 golf umbrellas costing $9,000 were bought with Hurricane Ike disaster relief funds. Similar umbrellas were available for half the price. At least 60 of the umbrellas were never used.
  • Cardholders spent more than $20,000 on software, printers, and other office supplies using funds designated for other purchases.
  • More than $2,800 was spent on purchases “that appeared to have been made by individuals other than the cardholders,” the report discloses.
Not surprisingly, the inspector general recommended that FEMA “increase oversight.”
blog comments powered by Disqus