Want to Know Where the Hurricane Relief Money Went?

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The Institute for Southern Studies has released a report suggesting some ways out of the various social, physical, and financial quagmires caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The paper also dedicates a section to that ubiquitous question, “Where did the Katrina money go?” A few answers:

Amount that Bush administration says has been spent on Gulf Coast recovery since 2005 hurricanes: $116 billion

Estimated percent of those funds that are for long-term recovery projects: 30

Amount of FEMA’s 2005 disaster relief budget that was spent on administrative costs: $7 billion

Percent of the 2005 relief budget that represented: 22

Of $16.7 billion in Community Development Block Grants earmarked for long-term Gulf Coast rebuilding, percent that had been spent as of August 2007: 30

Of $8.4 billion allocated to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for levee repair in Louisiana, percent that had been spent as of July 2007: 20

As of June 2007, value of controversial “cost plus” Katrina contracts given out by three federal agencies, which allows companies to charge taxpayers for cost overruns and guaranteed profits: $2.4 billion

As of August 2006, value of Gulf Coast contracts that a Congressional study found were “plagued by waste, fraud, abuse or mismanagement”: $8.75 billion

So the answer to that ubiquitous question in devastated areas—”When will I get my f*cking check?”—still appears to be, “Don’t hold your breath.”

For more details, check out the report.

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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