Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), under scrutiny for raising money for Hurricane Katrina victims who never received the aid, harshly criticized the Bush administration response to the storm in 2005.
Meeks, along with 34 other House members, signed a September 7, 2005 letter to then-President Bush calling for the resignation of FEMA Director Michael Brown. The letter characterized the response as “haphazard and amateurish,” and alleged that it cost lives.
Federal prosecutors are now investigating New Direction Local Development Corporation, a nonprofit in which Meeks was deeply involved. On January 31, NLPC first alleged that funds raised for Katrina victims seemed to have disappeared, following our review of IRS returns, the New York state budget, and other documents.
Here is the complete text of the letter:
September 7, 2005
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
The restoration of faith in the federal government’s response to one the greatest natural disasters to face our nation must begin with relieving FEMA Director Michael Brown from his duties.
The response of FEMA and the federal government in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was at best haphazard and amateurish. It cost the lives of potentially thousands of Americans who may have been saved by a more expeditious and overwhelming response by FEMA.
Mr. Brown, unfortunately, appears ill-prepared to head a federal agency charged with the responsibility for managing a disaster relief of epic proportions. Previous to his appointment to FEMA, Mr. Brown had no experience in emergency relief and disaster management.
We expect FEMA to react expeditiously to disasters within our nation’s borders. Mr. Brown’s ineptitude reflects poorly on your administration’s commitment to FEMA and homeland security.
Insisting on Mr. Brown’s resignation would only be the first of many steps required to restore our nation’s confidence in the federal government’s ability to provide for and protect its citizenry.
Diane E. Watson (CA), Barbara Lee (CA), Jan Schakowsky (IL), Gregory Meeks (NY), Charles Rangel (NY), Gwen Moore (WI), Hilda Solis(CA), Marcy Kaptur (OH), Peter DeFazio (CA), Corrine Brown (FL), Major Owens(NY), Carolyn Kilpatrick (MI), Juanita Millender-McDonald (CA), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX), Bernie Sanders (VT), Emanuel Cleaver (MO), John Conyers (MI), Albert R. Wynn (MD), Sam Farr (CA), Danny Davis (IL), Earl Blumenauer (OR), Lois Capps (CA), Michael Honda (CA), James Clyburn (SC), Maxine Waters (CA), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Barney Frank (NY), Jerrold Nadler (NY), Bob Filner (CA), Dale E. Kildee (MI), Maurice Hinchey (NY), John Lewis (GA), Dennis J. Kucinich (OH), Stephen Lynch (MA), Rosa DeLauro (CT), Stephanie Tubbs Jones (OH).