Saturday, September 10, 2005

FEMA’s Florida Reaction. Political Pay-off?

As the scrutiny continues over FEMA’s inaction to relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, it shows a stark contrast to FEMA’s reaction to another hurricane last year.

In the fall of 2004 the state of Florida was facing Hurricane Frances, its second hurricane in less than a month. With a presidential election close by in the key battleground state, FEMA awarded 21 million dollars in disaster funds to the residents of Miami-Dade County, even though the area experienced conditions no more worse than “a severe thunderstorm.”

FEMA, the White House, and governor Jeb Bush denied that politics played a role in hurricane aid, but records from hundreds of pages of e-mails from Governor Bush suggest otherwise. The documents suggest that a federal FEMA consultant predicted that a disaster could reflect badly on President Bush and suggested his re-election staff minimize political liability.


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