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FEMA chief Long pledges to cooperate after reported probe into his misuse of government vehicles

The inspector general opened an investigation into travel between Washington and the administrator's North Carolina home.
Image: Brock Long
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long delivers update on federal actions to support Hurricane Irma response in Washington, on Sept. 15, 2017.Cliff Owen / AP

Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long, who is reportedly under investigation for misusing his government car for travel, said Thursday that he will fully cooperate with the probe.

The Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General opened the investigation into whether Long misused government resources on trips back home to Hickory, N.C., on the weekends from Washington, D.C., according to Politico, which first reported the story.

Politico, which cited three unnamed people familiar with the matter, reported the inspector general took interest in his travel habits after one of the government vehicles was involved in an accident.

Long addressed the investigation during a briefing on Hurricane Florence, saying he believes he did nothing wrong and will fully cooperate.

"I would never intentionally run a program incorrectly," he said. "Bottom line is if we made mistakes on the way a program was run, then we'll work with the (Inspector General) to get those corrected. You know doing something unethical is not part of my DNA, and it's not part of my track record and my whole entire career."

He added, "Bottom line is we'll continue to fully cooperate with any investigation that goes on. And own up to any mistakes and push forward and keep going, keep moving on."

Misuse of taxpayer dollars for travel have repeatedly dogged President Donald Trump's administration, leading to high-profile resignations of several top officials.

Politico also reported that the investigation into Long's travel led to a confrontation between him and his boss, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. His absences from the office due to regular six-hour drives between North Carolina and Washington caught Nielsen's attention, Politico reported, and she raised the issue with him in recent months, with one source saying she asked him to consider resigning, but Long declined to do so.

Jessica Nalepa, FEMA's director of external affairs, said in a statement on Thursday that FEMA fully cooperates with all investigations conducted by the inspector general.

"Administrator Long and the FEMA workforce are focused on preparing for, responding to, and recovering from Hurricane Florence and other active tropical systems," she said.