Journalists at the Center for Investigative Reporting and The Center for Public Integrity have uncovered some questionable spending of federal homeland security grants. For example, the money bought $3,000 worth of lapel pins in West Virginia.
What did they find in Kansas? Reluctance… and some bomb-disabling robots.
“The Sunflower State was among the most reluctant to disclose how it has spent and managed federal homeland security grants since 2001. The Center for Investigative Reporting filed a request under the Kansas Open Records Act seeking lists documenting all equipment and services invoiced and paid for under a series of grant programs. A colonel for the Kansas Highway Patrol, which is responsible for overseeing grant spending, rejected the request, arguing that disclosure “would jeopardize statewide security measures.” The agency relented after CIR appealed to the state’s attorney general. Unfortunately, Kansas officials still insisted on excluding certain types of key information. A document nonetheless shows that among other things, Kansas spent at least $342,000 on high-tech robots equipped to neutralize bombs. Other purchases included digital cameras, thermal image devices, decontamination shelters, equipment trailers and costly rescue trucks, portable radiation detection devices, surveillance cameras and more.” — The Center for Public Integrity