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MacArthur: FEMA Head Should Resign Following ’60 Minutes’ Report

Tom MacArthur (R-3) (File Photo)

Tom MacArthur (R-3) (File Photo)

Congressman Tom MacArthur (R-3) called for the resignation of Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator W. Craig Fugate following a report on the CBS newsmagazine show “60 Minutes” Sunday night that the agency’s insurance contractors intentionally changed engineering reports in order to short-change victims of Superstorm Sandy.

“I am outraged and saddened to hear reports that FEMA may have turned a blind eye to corrupt and fraudulent practices used to deny full assistance to families and individuals recovering from Superstorm Sandy,” MacArthur said in a prepared statement. “It is simply shocking that the agency could have known about these private insurers’ wrongdoings as early as August of 2013, yet did nothing about it.”

The “60 Minutes” story, in addition to uncovering the modified engineering reports, brought forth allegations that FEMA officials knew the fraudulent practices were occurring and did nothing about while hurricane victims, in some cases, lost their homes due to inadequate settlements from their flood insurance carriers.

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U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) did not call for Fugate’s resignation but did say, in a joint statement with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) that the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs should hold new oversight hearings of the flood insurance claims of homeowners impacted by Sandy.

“The senators have serious concerns about when FEMA learned of the potential fraud, what steps FEMA took to address it, and FEMA’s general oversight of those that run the NFIP program on its behalf,” the statement said.

Likewise, MacArthur demanded a full investigation by relevant House committees into the same issue, but also said Fugate should be replaced at FEMA.

“I have long been a champion for restoring accountability to FEMA, and this latest news underscores the need for real change at the agency,” MacArthur said. “That is why I am also calling upon W. Craig Fugate to resign from his role as FEMA Administrator. For too long, this Agency has mishandled their fundamental role to help disaster survivors. Administrator Fugate has failed as a leader and must step down before any further harm is done.”