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February 09, 2016

Congressman Says Red Cross Is Evading Questions on Cutbacks

A congressman whose committee oversees U.S. disaster response says the American Red Cross has failed to answer his questions about whether reductions in staff and chapter offices are affecting its services, ProPublica writes.

Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Homeland Security, said Red Cross President Gail McGovern responded to a letter he sent in December seeking information on the downsizing but did not deal with specific queries about the size and nature of the cost-cutting moves, such as which local offices shut down and which were folded into larger regional chapters.

In her reply late last month, Ms. McGovern wrote that she has sought to lower "the costs of delivering our services to the public – without diminishing the services themselves – and we believe we have achieved that goal." Mr. Thompson said he is "troubled that questions were ignored and some of the responses provided were inconsistent with information from numerous media reports." ProPublica and NPR have reported extensively on Red Cross finances and questions about the charity's response to disasters such as the Haiti earthquake and Superstorm Sandy.