A new Associated Press investigation shows that tens of millions of dollars in relief funding for the Gulf oil spill has gone to things like Tasers, new sport utility vehicles and computers.
The report highlighted Ocean Springs, Miss., where police officers used BP spill money to buy Tasers. The report also mentions Gulfport, Miss., where the city spent "$300,000 on a vacuum truck that never sucked up a drop of oil.” Officials in Biloxi, Miss., used the infusion of spill cash to buy 12 SUVs.
So, are you wondering what any of this stuff had to do with recovery from the spill? The report shows that the majority of these purchases had nothing to do with the spill, but that didn’t keep these towns from trying to explain their actions.
“In every case, communities said the new, more powerful equipment was needed to deal at least indirectly with the spill. In many instances, though, the connection between the spill and the expenditures was remote,” read the report.
The situation sounds similar to the abuses reported in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which decimated much of the same region in the United States. If you recall, $1.4 billion was wasted in Katrina relief efforts following the storm. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that following Katrina, recipients used relief funds in the form of debit cards on a wide range of things, including entry to strip clubs, vacations and season tickets to see the New Orleans Saints.