This didn't get a lot of press (here's one story), but two days ago Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) sent out a press release about his efforts to set up an oversight committee for Katrina funds. Here's how the release starts:
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, today announced that he is working on a proposal to create an oversight authority to oversee the use of federal funds related to Hurricane Katrina recovery and rehabilitation. Senator Gregg sent a letter to all of his Senate colleagues today with the outline of his proposal to engage in a meaningful dialogue on finding an immediate solution for managing the federal response in the Gulf Coast.
"In the wake of the catastrophic disaster of Hurricane Katrina, we must now look ahead to ensure that the massive amount of federal dollars are being spent effectively and efficiently on reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in the effected Gulf Coast region," stated Senator Gregg. "This proposal lays out a framework that would create one overarching authority to act as a clearinghouse for how all federal funds are spent. "We must make sure that the people and areas that were directly affected by the storm get the help they need to get on their feet and get their communities rebuilt. At the same time, we must take every precaution to ensure that these dollars are spent wisely."
The devil is in the details -- who will be on the committee? how will they be chosen? what powers will they have to rein in fraud and abuse by contractors? -- but it's the right idea.