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Posted inMoney and Politics


Attempts to learn more about how the state of Georgia has spent its homeland security grants since 2001 turned out to be an exercise in frustration. First we were told that sections of the documents, such as equipment lists and progress reports, would not be disclosed due to a provision of the Georgia Open Records […]

Posted inMoney and Politics


The Department of Homeland Security does more than just hand out anti-terrorism funds to states. It also makes hundreds of millions of dollars available annually to firefighters for station construction projects, hiring and retaining personnel, response vehicles and protective gear. Like other states, Montana has benefitted from the assistance. But in September of 2008, the […]

Posted inMoney and Politics


The mission of Bedford County’s Emergency Management Agency in Tennessee is to prepare for and recover from “natural, manmade, or technological disasters upon its people or property,” according to the office’s Web site. But auditors found something other than a commitment to preparedness and homeland security when they arrived in 2008 as a result of […]

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Posted inMoney and Politics


Flying on a commercial airliner changed forever after Sept. 11, and travelers have grown accustomed to the greatly enhanced security measures implemented since the hijackings, including thousands of new screeners hired by the fledgling Transportation Security Administration to search passengers and bags for dangerous items. The last worry anyone wants now is that the very […]

Posted inMoney and Politics


Officials at the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency turned over fairly detailed Excel spreadsheets listing anti-terrorism grant transactions containing the type of equipment purchased, how much it cost, who bought it and more. You can download the records here, but they’re limited to a five-year period. Since states are reimbursed with grant funds after first buying […]

Posted inMoney and Politics


Texas became the flashpoint of debate over a Bush-era plan to line the southwest border of the United States with fences, motion detectors, lights and surveillance cameras to keep undocumented immigrants out. Known as the Secure Border Initiative, the program included building “tactical infrastructure,” or vehicle and pedestrian fences stretching across 660 miles of the […]

Posted inMoney and Politics


The state of Idaho produced a lengthy spreadsheet and other documents in response to a request submitted under the state’s open-records law for information about its anti-terrorism grant spending. While the information is not as detailed as we would have preferred, readers can still view spending activity by county, cost of the equipment purchased, year […]

Posted inMoney and Politics


State auditors discovered several problems when they showed up to the Nevada Department of Public Safety’s Division of Emergency Management in the fall of 2008. But officials there strongly disagreed with many of the findings and fired back in a lengthy response letter. Among other things, auditors concluded that the division had failed to report […]

Posted inMoney and Politics


Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona is famous for his criticism of unregulated congressional earmarks, and losing the 2008 presidential election to Barack Obama didn’t slow him down. In November of 2009 he embraced new media to spread his theology of less government waste using Twitter to announce the top 10 earmarks he considered worthy […]

Posted inMoney and Politics


Illinois officials gave $200,000 a year to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Urbana so it could seek tips from the public about terrorists possibly tampering with the food supply by poisoning pets. Authorities also claimed the hotline would help them detect disease outbreaks. After two years, however, the local SPCA […]