Transgenders Claim FEMA Sex Change Scandal Was Fabricated, Fraudulent
Last month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) testified before a House Homeland Security subcommittee to spotlight $1.4 billion fraudulent waste of Emergency Assistance Funds (EAF) to Hurricane Katrina victims. The unprecedented level of Federal Emergency Management Agency fraud was blared over television newscasts and emblazoned on newspaper headlines: "FEMA funds paid for a sex change."
However, the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition (NTAC) is now publicly calling the media and authorities on this claim, demanding proof that this occurred and calling the press on this claim "fabricated" and "fraudulent." In reviewing both House subcommittee testimony and the GAO report (www.gao.gov/new.items/d06844t.pdf) that uncovered the fraud there was no reference of a sex change, nor any surgery of any type being paid for by FEMA funds.
"It appears [the sex change] story was prime red meat for conservatives looking to turn attention away from the President, and onto Katrina victims and FEMA," said NTAC President Vanessa Edwards Foster. "It also appears there's no veracity to the story that EAF funds were used for gender reassignment surgery. These press claims are what's fraudulent."
House Homeland Security Investigations subcommittee chair Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) called the discovered waste "criminal" but never mentioned anything about sex changes. However Rep. Charles Dent (R-PA) did note the sex change claim shortly after the House testimony, commenting, "I don't understand how this could happen."
How the sex change allegation originated remains unclear. The June 14, 2006 story by Larry Margasak of the Associated Press noted a sex change in a laundry list of items scammed from FEMA. While outlets as diverse as Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, ABC News, MSNBC, Bloomberg Report carried the story, the more conservative news outlets such as Wall Street Journal or Fox News made no mention of the sex change accusation.
When questioned about the story, the GAO's Office of Public Affairs stated "there was no reference to that allegation … because we cannot confirm it."
"The press reported on fabricated claims of sex changes paid with FEMA funds, but no media ever mentioned $2,000 paid to a Christian Broadcast Network from EAF payments," Foster of NTAC commented. The GAO report listed $2,000 paid to Colorado-based LeSEA Broadcasting Network.