Thursday, June 15, 2006

$8,000

That is the grand total in fradulent expenditures out of $39 million in cash FEMA assistance, according to the LA Times. Alas, our own Times here in LA missed that tidbit when they went with a sensational wire story long on Girls Gone Wild and sex change operations but short on facts.

In part, the AP hack job in the T-P reads;

Congress' Government Accountability Office used a statistical analysis to estimate the fraud may have totaled 16 percent of the individual assistance after the two hurricanes last year.

But Dannels told a House Homeland Security subcommittee that the GAO looked only at .01 percent of the 2.5 million applications for assistance, and said FEMA only learned of the new estimates last week.

In a sharp exchange, Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., told Dannels: "The amount of fraud outlined in this report ... I don't think it's refutable."
Perhaps we should get Rep. Shays a subscription to the LA Times, since they seemed to have noticed it was refutable.

During a hearing Wednesday before the House Homeland Security subcommittee on investigations, Donna M. Dannels, FEMA's acting director for recovery, said the "questionable purchases" in the GAO investigation totaled "just under $8,000, or 0.02% of nearly $39 million" in aid. As for the rental assistance checks, she argued that the fraudulent cases represented only "a fraction of the overall assistance provided" — $6.3 billion in housing payments distributed by the agency.

Both stories do manage to get to the fact that a lot of the fraud was perpetrated by people who were not Katrina survivors, including a slew of prisoners who filed for rental assistance. The LA Times in particular gives full attention to the inneptitude at FEMA that allowed the fraud to occur. However, the casual viewer/listener to this day's news cycle came away with the clear impression that it was just another instance of Katrina Looters Gone Wild.



Comments:
Thank you for making this entry. I had a rather fierce debate with someone just days ago who seemed inclined to believe that it was exclusively Louisianians who were hoping to make a free buck of the system. Nothing is more frustrating than dealing with the aftermath of misinformation. I worry that many people will not support rebuilding the coast because of those articles that imply that Louisianians are responsible for these fraudulent cases.
 
Where do we get our reputations back?
 
After Dollar Bill and Fast Eddie and all of them back to the Longs, I can't imagine, Mr. C.
 
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