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alleged-cronyism

Mike Brown, the Florida hurricanes, and patronage

This HuffPost post has a roundup of former FEMA head Mike Brown possibly swinging the election for Bush by doling out cash to victims of the Florida hurricanes.
Note that some of that post appears to be inaccurate; Brown is apparently not staying on as a contractor at FEMA. Please summarize the links and the verifiable facts in the comments.

Searching for more Mike Browns

Time wants to know: "How Many More Mike Browns are out There?"
They concentrate on three questionable cases:

...Internal e-mail messages obtained by Time show that scientists' drug-safety decisions at the Food and Drug Administration (fda) are being second-guessed by a 33-year-old doctor turned stock picker. At the Office of Management and Budget, an ex-lobbyist with minimal purchasing experience oversaw $300 billion in spending, until his arrest last week. At the Department of Homeland Security, an agency the Administration initially resisted, a well-connected White House aide with minimal experience is poised to take over what many consider the single most crucial post in ensuring that terrorists do not enter the country again. And who is acting as watchdog at every federal agency? A corps of inspectors general who may be increasingly chosen more for their political credentials than their investigative ones...

The last is perhaps the most worrisome; Tom Ridge reportedly tried to make sure the former DHS IG was "his" IG (see Watchdog details confrontations with Ridge).
Back to Time:

...The post-watergate law creating the position of inspector general (IG) states that the federal watchdogs must be hired "without regard to political affiliation," on the basis of their ability in such disciplines as accounting, auditing and investigating. It may not sound like the most exciting job, but the 57 inspectors general in the Federal Government can be the last line of defense against fraud and abuse. Because their primary duty is to ask nosy questions, their independence is crucial. But critics say some of the Bush IGs have been too cozy with the Administration...

Top three at FEMA: "Bush cronies"

WASHINGTON - The three top jobs at the Federal Emergency Management Agency under President Bush went to political cronies with no apparent experience coping with catastrophes, the Daily News has learned...
...FEMA's No. 2 man, deputy director and chief of staff Patrick Rhode, was an advance man for the Bush-Cheney campaign and White House. He also did short stints at the Commerce Department and Small Business Administration.
Rhode's biography posted on FEMA's Web site doesn't indicate he has any real experience in emergency response.
In addition, the agency's former third-ranking official, deputy chief of staff Scott Morris, was a PR expert who worked for Maverick Media, the Texas outfit that produced TV and radio spots for the Bush-Cheney campaign. In June, Morris moved to Florida to become FEMA's long-term recovery director...
...FEMA also is hampered by several midlevel and regional director's jobs currently held by acting directors...
...Government sources blame Bush's first FEMA director, Joe Allbaugh, with turning FEMA into a patronage shop...

And, from "Top FEMA officials have scant experience in disaster management":

The department's No. 3 official, acting deputy chief of staff Brooks Altshuler, also does not have emergency management experience, according to FEMA spokeswoman Natalie Rule...
Rhode and Altshuler both worked in the White House's Office of National Advance Operations, which arranges the president's travel and scripts his appearances.
The credentials of top FEMA managers stand in contrast to the backgrounds of leaders of the agency during the Clinton administration.
Clinton-era FEMA Director James Lee Witt headed the Arkansas office of emergency services before he was tapped by Clinton in 1993 to run the federal disaster relief agency.
Witt's top aides in 2000, Lynn Canton and Michael Armstrong, both ran regional FEMA offices for at least three years before assuming senior positions with the agency in Washington.

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