Friday, September 30, 2005

Where is the Money Going?

We know the connection between Halliburton and all of its subsidiaries to Republicans and those connections have ensured that Dick Cheney's former employer is getting a large share of the dollars spent in hurricane relief efforts. But who at Carnival Cruise Lines is a major contributor? What else could explain the latest twist to the deal to rent two of Carnival's ships to house refugees in New Orleans (which are mostly empty, by the way)?

Two senators on Thursday asked federal officials to explain their decision to sign a $236 million deal with Carnival Cruise Lines for Hurricane Katrina housing, saying Greece was ready to provide two ships for free.
And it's not just big ticket items like ships and shipping (see previous post) that FEMA is overpaying for. Even for something so simple as the now-ubiquitous blue tarps that cover so many damaged roofs in the South FEMA has managed to overpay.

The blue sheeting - a godsend to residents whose homes are threatened by rain - is rapidly becoming the largest roofing project in the nation's history.

It isn't coming cheap.

Knight Ridder has found that a lack of oversight, generous contracting deals and poor planning mean that government agencies are shelling out as much as 10 times what the temporary fix would normally cost.

The government is paying contractors an average of $2,480 for less than two hours of work to cover each damaged roof - even though it's also giving them endless supplies of blue sheeting for free.
Oback Barama (D. IL) is doing yeoman's work along with Tom Coburn (R. OK) to get Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff to explain what's going on and to control spending in the relief efforts. So far, their efforts are to no avail.

I have no problem with spending the money it will take to help our fellow citizens in their time of need. I'd just like to know that we're getting the most for our money and that it's not going to line the pockets of the already wealthy and well-connected. It seems I'm hoping against hope.

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