Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Official Vows Investigation of No-Bid Relief Contracts

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 - The inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday that his office had received accusations of fraud and waste in the multibillion-dollar relief programs linked to Hurricane Katrina and would investigate how no-bid contracts were awarded to several large, politically well-connected companies.

The inspector general, Richard L. Skinner, who serves as the department's internal watchdog, said in an interview that he intended to be "extremely aggressive" in monitoring the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which will receive most of the $62 billion in disaster-response financing approved by Congress last week.

FEMA, which is part of Homeland Security, was harshly criticized in recent months as mismanaging millions of dollars in relief funds after a 2004 hurricane in Florida.

Mr. Skinner's remarks came as the secretary of homeland security, Michael Chertoff; Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales; and Republican Congressional leaders said Tuesday that they also were concerned about the potential for abuse, given the amount of federal money and private charity committed to the hurricane-relief effort.

Their comments appeared to be a response, in part, to charges from Democratic lawmakers that such a large, hurriedly organized federal relief program could produce the sort of contract abuses, cronyism and waste that numerous investigations have identified in the Bush administration's reconstruction programs in postwar Iraq....


I have the feeling at the bottom of this Report these words will be in Bold: "No Evidence of any Wrong Doing".

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