In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the state hired an integrity monitor to make sure no fraud or abuse happened while distributing aid, but Senate President Steve Sweeney (D) has called it a whitewash. Sweeney told NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams that not all the necessary information to determine how the job was being done was available.
“Because we’re missing all the information that was necessary to really determine whether we did a good job or did a bad job,” said Sweeney. “I mean, there’s a lot of information that should have been given and the administration has the ability to ask for waivers under the legislation and they didn’t. They just didn’t provide us all the information that was required.”
Sweeney said that he is looking to cast the blame but that state officials have to make sure going forward that no money is wasted and that other methods of getting money to make repairs are used.
So far the state has spent about $5 million on the integrity monitor. In order to make sure there is transparency in the distribution of federal disaster aid, Sweeney said that lawmakers are calling out the administration.
“What we’re doing right now, calling out the administration, to say, look I was a sponsor of the bill, I was the prime sponsor of the integrity monitor bill and the purpose of it was to make sure we didn’t waste money,” Sweeney said.
Sweeney said the report is also to make sure that the same mistakes are not made twice.
The Treasury Department has said that personnel are going to respond promptly.
“Listen, that gives me hope,” Sweeney said. “Honestly because in the past they haven’t but I’m going to take them at their word and I’m looking forward to the information that they said they’ll provide. Look, they’ve got the documents we need. To see the documents, and again it’s to recognize what we did wrong, what we did right. I’m sure everything we did wasn’t wrong.”