Following the Homeland Security Grant Money

By Sherry Harowitz

Since 9-11, Congress has allocated roughly $30 billion to states in homeland security grants. Has the money been well spent? The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) has gathered data that allows anyone to follow the money and judge for themselves.

CIR has made available a detailed map of where homeland security dollars have gone state by state.

The data, developed by CIR in conjunction with the Center for Public Integrity, shows both questionable uses and laudatory ones. On the questionable list in CIR's view, the $8 million West Virginia spent on "trips, label pins, furniture, office supplies, cell-phone charges, and more."

(For more on how some locations waste homeland security money, see "A California County Shows How to Waste Homeland Security Grants.")

Looking at the map—you can click on any state to pull up data for that region—many of the purchases seem legitimately related to homeland security, but CIR questions whether the resources are allocated wisely, given the high cost of some equipment being deployed in locations with tiny populations, such as Potter, Nebraska, with a population of about 400 persons, which spent $4,500 of homeland security grant money on surveillance cameras.

You can also download source data behind the numbers. Whether you agree with CIR's characterizations or not, there's a wealth of information well worth perusing.

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