Nevada journalist and talk show host John Ralston is trolling for Harry Reid. Ralston published an article in The Las Vegas Sun on Sunday titled Angle in 2005: I would have voted “no” on Katrina relief funds.
The article is based on a tape given to Ralston by “a Democrat,” but the tape does not say what Ralston says. Here is the audio provided by Ralson with his article.
Ralston says readers should “listen to what she said – I have posted the audio at right – and make your own call.”
Ralston gives no transcript with good reason. All Angle was saying was that she agreed with Mike Pence at the time (there is no date on the audio) that before appropriating tens of billions of dollars, there should be a plan on how to spend it.
Here is my transcription of the tape Ralston provides (emphasis mine):
I think that government needs to live within its means. I would like to go and join my voice with Mike Pence and others who when the 62 billion came out to be spent on Katria relief, he said wait a minute, I’m voting no and the reason is because I want to know where it’s going, what it’s going to be spent on and who is going to be spending it, so I’d like to join my voice there.
That’s it. Angle never says she would have denied relief to Katrina victims.
Pence eventually voted for the package without the accountability due to political pressures. Who knows, Angle may have done the same had she been in that position, but to try to put some plan in place before writing a check was the right thing to do.
Contrary to Ralston’s claim that the issue was emergency relief to hurricane victims, in fact this legislation was not about pulling people off rooftops or rescuing flood victims; the issue was how to help rebuild devastated areas over a longer term.
And in hindsight Angle was correct to insist on a plan before the taxpayers wrote a blank check for tens of billions of dollars. Five years later the history of Katrina relief is one of multi-billions in waste, including footballs fields full of unused trailers and vast fraud.
Here is how The NY Times reported on Katrina waste and fraud on June 26, 2006, ‘Breathtaking’ Waste and Fraud in Hurricane Aid (emphasis mine):
Among the many superlatives associated with Hurricane Katrina can now be added this one: it produced one of the most extraordinary displays of scams, schemes and stupefying bureaucratic bungles in modern history, costing taxpayers up to $2 billion….
The tally of ignoble acts linked to Hurricane Katrina, pulled together by The New York Times from government audits, criminal prosecutions and Congressional investigations, could rise because the inquiries are under way. Even in Washington, a city accustomed to government bloat, the numbers are generating amazement.
“The blatant fraud, the audacity of the schemes, the scale of the waste — it is just breathtaking,” said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, and chairwoman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Such an outcome was feared soon after Congress passed the initial hurricane relief package, as officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross acknowledged that their systems were overwhelmed and tried to create new ones on the fly.
Sharron Angle was right to insist on government accountability rather than government blank checks, even on an issue as important as Katrina relief. Had Sharron Angle’s position been followed, there would have been Katrina relief, but without the historic fraud and waste.
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