Reporter Jason Leopold has a good piece summarizing the bill of indictment about FEMA's role in Florida 2004 and what it says about their response to Katrina. FEMA and the Bush Administration's response to hurricanes in Florida last year was quick and generous, which a growing number of critics in and out of government are saying had everything to do with the upcoming 2004 elections in the critical swing state. One of the juicier bits in Leopold's account: But the most interesting charge against Brown is that he helped speed up payments in Florida and purposely bypassed FEMA's lengthy reviews process for distributing funds in order to help Bush secure votes in the state during last year's presidential election. Bob Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America, who was a top federal flood insurance official in the 1970s and 1980s and a Texas insurance commissioner in the 1990s, told the Post "that in the vast majority of hurricanes, other than those in Florida in 2004, complaints are rife that FEMA has vastly underpaid hurricane victims. The Frances overpayments are questionable given the timing of the election and Florida's importance as a battleground state." Another case points to the FEMA funds showered on Miami-Dade County, which was barely touched by the storm, including one example where "FEMA paid $10 million to replace hundreds of household items even though only a bed was reported to be damaged." FEMA head Michael Brown claimed weather maps obtained from NOAA justified his generousity in Miami-Dade. NOAA disputed his excuse, prompting Congressman Robert Wexler to "send off a scathing letter to President Bush calling for Brown's resignation." It appears Wexler was a year ahead of his time. UPDATE: Also check out this piece by William Fisher at Inter Press Service.