Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Via our indefatigable colleagues at Cursor: Refresh our memory. Did we mention that the President could not have won re-election without carrying the key state of Florida?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency gave more than $31 million to thousands of Floridians who may not have qualified for any disaster aid after Hurricane Frances, one of several findings of a federal audit that said the aid system was vulnerable to fraud . . . .But surely the President and his brother would not have been so callous as to exploit a natural disaster for political gain:
"It was a pay first, ask questions later approach," said Sen. Susan Collins R-Maine, chairwoman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
As the second hurricane in less than a month bore down on Florida last fall, a federal consultant predicted a "huge mess" that could reflect poorly on President Bush and suggested that his re-election staff be brought in to minimize any political liability, records show.
Two weeks later, a Florida official summarizing the hurricane response wrote that the Federal Emergency Management Agency was handing out housing assistance "to everyone who needs it without asking for much information of any kind."
The records are contained in hundreds of pages of Gov. Jeb Bush's storm-related e-mails initially requested by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel Oct. 13.
The governor's office finally released the documents Friday, after threat of a lawsuit by the newspaper.