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Call For Sandy Aid Transparency

Some Long Island officials demand openness regarding relief funding bill which others say is loaded with "pork."

A small group of Long Island officials are pushing for transparency regarding an approved $50 billion Sandy relief funding bill which some say contains too much "pork."

Nassau County Legis. Wayne Wink, Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone, Port Washington-Manhasset OEM Commissioner Peter Forman, Brookville Mayor Daniel Serota and Rep. Steve Israel launched the Sandy Relief Transparency Working Group Friday in an effort to ensure transparency with Hurricane Sandy recovery funding and resources.

Last year, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman raised the transparency issue following the storm in a letter to 75 organizations including the American Association of Retired Persons, American Red Cross, Salvation Army and the Empire State Relief Fund. 

"In the name of transparency and accountability, we must ensure that funds raised for Hurricane Sandy relief are used for that purpose," said Schneiderman. 

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Signed into law last month, the $50 billion aid package allows the Small Business Administration to offer direct loans to small businesses trying to get back on their feet, Federal Emergecy managements Agency to provide support to families that lost everything, rebuild critical infrastructure with transportation projects and support Army Corps projects to restore our coastal communities.

Rep. Israel, D-Huntington, is calling for "an open and transparent process so taxpayers and municipalities can see exactly how funds are being spent to rebuild and protect their communities,” according to a press release.

Others, who argue that the bill contains spending unrelated to Sandy relief, might agree with the Congressman regarding openness.

Funding projects in the approved bill include $2 billion for road construction across the country, $10 million for FBI salaries, Head Start program aid and $150 million for fisheries across the country, according to a Human Events report.

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