Monday, December 05, 2005

The 9/11 porkfest

The New York Daily News is running a series on what happened to the more than $20 billion earmarked for New York after 9/11. It's not going to be pretty reading.

But a four-month Daily News investigation of the $21.4 billion disaster recovery package reveals that major elements of the aid process were procedurally flawed — from the determination of how much money was supposedly needed, to how it was distributed, to how it was actually spent and ultimately, to how little oversight there was over the spending. In effect, no one was watching.

As a result, 9/11 recovery aid was used to finance a plethora of projects that taxpayers elsewhere could be forgiven for characterizing as old-fashioned pork-barrel spending.

Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on projects that seemingly had nothing to do with 9/11 and lower Manhattan.

Programs were plagued with so many loopholes that millions more ended up being given to recipients who did not fit the full intent of the particular program.

Still more millions went to help projects already in the works before 9/11 or on the drawing board with no prior funding source.

Huge contracts were given to companies and organizations linked to the very officials tasked with deciding how to spend the money — creating, at a minimum, the potential for multiple conflicts of interest.

Substantial sums were given to companies to stay in lower Manhattan even though they had no intention of leaving.
In many cases, original eligibility rules were expanded, and deadlines extended, so that virtually no one was ineligible. Vast numbers of applications were filed during the final weeks of signup periods.

Rules for some aid programs were so loose and broadly drawn that otherwise honest people grabbed their little piece of the 9/11 money pot — like the thousands of New Yorkers who took advantage of FEMA by obtaining free air conditioners, air purifiers, air filters and/or high-efficiency vacuum cleaners.

The gold rush also attracted businesses and organizations that followed all the rules for obtaining relief but didn't necessarily need free money to survive.
Michelle Malkin has further developments.

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At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Atkins said...

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