When FEMA administrator Brock Long started his job previous year, he began to take routine trips home to North Carolina, using a government driver and vehicle to make the six-hour trek from Washington, D.C. An aide, who would stay in hotel room at taxpayer expense, would also accompany Long on these trips.
The Department of Homeland Security's inspector general's office is reportedly looking into whether he misused taxpayer dollars. But using those vehicles for personal trips or other activities runs afoul of government misuse regulations.
"Administrator Long and the FEMA workforce are focused on preparing for, responding to, and recovering from Hurricane Florence and other active tropical systems", Nalepa tweeted in response to the POLITICO report.
"I would never intentionally run a program incorrectly", he continued.
Long has said he will cooperate with the investigation and take it as an opportunity to make improvements to remain in line with regulations. "Doing something unethical is not in my DNA, it is not part of my track record", Long told reporters at a briefing on the storm.
The investigation has come to light at the same time that Long has become the face of the administration's effort to prepare for Hurricane Florence and its aftermath - a consequential test of President Donald Trump's leadership and of FEMA itself, after harsh criticism of the federal response to a hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico in 2017. It said the director now drives himself or flies back to the state.
Politico said FEMA directed questions about the probe to the IG's office, which did not respond to the news organization's request for comment.
FEMA Administrator Brock Long speaks during a news conference at the National Hurricane Center as National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham, right, looks on, Wednesday, May 30, 2018, in Miami.
"Having worked directly with him for over a year, I know Administrator Long to be an experienced and respected emergency manager", Jessica Nalepa, the spokeswoman, said in the statement.
Long is the latest Trump appointee to face scrutiny over his use of government resources.
The video below, taken in Wilmington , North Carolina, shows a large tree being split in half in Florence's winds. The homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions.
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In Wilmington, near where the eye of the hurricane touched down, trees and power lines were down and many windows had been broken. The city warns that people "may need to move up to the second story" but tells them to stay put as "we are coming to get you".
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The entire coastlines of North and SC , in addition to some parts of southeastern Virginia, are under a mandatory evacuation plan. The port in Charleston, South Carolina, though, was suspending operations from Thursday through Saturday and possibly on Sunday.
He said parts of North Carolina had seen storm surges - the bulge of seawater pushed ashore by the hurricane - as high as 10 feet. Governor Cooper said there have been "several hundred" rescue operations and "there are still some people they need to get to".
Warnock says he will speak to Chelsea officials about the prospect of signing Ampadu on loan in the next transfer window. Chelsea are battling to return to the Champions League this season after finishing outside the top four last term.
The European Space Agency's astronaut , the German Alexander Gerst, called the hurricane a "no-kidding nightmare". This photo from Arnold is one of many on his Twitter feed of the Earth from the International Space Station.
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