Yesterday was a busy day, as Daily Kos and a number of other national blogs picked up my story on FEMA director Mike Brown, whose prior disaster experience was being one. Slight bump in traffic.
Today, the story is starting to make it into the MSM, and the real journalists are both corroborating and expanding on what I reported. First to the virtual newsstand is the Boston Herald:
The federal official in charge of the bungled New Orleans rescue was fired from his last private-sector job overseeing horse shows.
And before joining the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a deputy director in 2001, GOP activist Mike Brown had no significant experience that would have qualified him for the position.
Before joining the Bush administration in 2001, Brown spent 11 years as the commissioner of judges and stewards for the International Arabian Horse Association, a breeders’ and horse-show organization based in Colorado.
“We do disciplinary actions, certification of (show trial) judges. We hold classes to train people to become judges and stewards. And we keep records,” explained a spokeswoman for the IAHA commissioner’s office. “This was his full-time job . . . for 11 years,” she added.
Brown was forced out of the position after a spate of lawsuits over alleged supervision failures.
“He was asked to resign,” Bill Pennington, president of the IAHA at the time, confirmed last night.
So how do you get a job like this with absolutely no qualifications? The Herald reports that soon after his resignation, Brown was brought into the administration by his old college roommate, Joseph Allbaugh, who was heading up FEMA at the time. When Allbaugh quit in 2003 to work for the president’s reelection campaign, Bush appointed Brown to replace him.
And how did his job at the IAHA qualify Brown to coordinate disaster relief? Well, I asked several former IAHA members, and this was the typical response:
“I personally can not think of any way that being the IAHA Judges and Stewards Commissioner prepared him to be the FEMA Director.”
There you have it, straight from the horse’s… um… mouth.