Representatives Request Subpoena of FEMA

Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Delegate Stacey Plaskett (D-USVI), members of the House Oversight Committee, sent a letter urging Committee Chair Trey Gowdy (R-SC) to subpoena FEMA regarding questionable contracts for Hurricane Maria relief in Puerto Rico. In early October, FEMA awarded a $156 million contract to Tribute Contracting, a one-person company, to deliver 30 million emergency meals. FEMA terminated the contract when the company delivered only 50,000 meals after 20 days. Tribute’s failure to deliver the emergency meals resulted in a food crisis that “dwarf[ed] the more widely publicized challenges of restoring power and communications,” according to FEMA officials.

The letter states that “FEMA’s decision is even more incomprehensible given the company’s inability to fulfill previous government contracts that were only a fraction of the size.” Shortly after the termination of the contract, members of the committee requested documents from FEMA to determine the reasons for and effects of the contract. The agency has not submitted any documentation since the initial request, however. The letter asks Mr. Gowdy to either immediately issue a subpoena for FEMA to produce the requested documents or place the issue on the committee’s agenda for a vote.