Report: Not all N.H. Towns Spending Homeland Security Money on Security

CONCORD, N.H.-- Not all money New Hampshire gets for homeland security from the federal government is spent on homeland security.

Auditors found one community trying to spend money earmarked for radioactive detection badges on digital cameras at Best Buy while another spent homeland security money for a police interview room.

The examples of misdirected spending were outlined by Deputy Commissioner Earl Sweeney during a briefing before the Executive Council.

"We are made the bad guys because we are very particular about what we approve" for spending, Sweeney said.

While Sweeney offered several colorful examples of when state officials have stepped in to deter misdirected spending by local government leaders, he declined to identify the communities.

"I would rather not embarrass an individual town or two. We wanted to make the point to the council to assure them because we have had local officials complain about some of our decisions," Sweeney told The Telegraph, which sought the information.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security money cannot pay for personnel, renovations, weapons or software, computers or vehicles that are offered for general use by local communities.

Sweeney said local complaints about strict state scrutiny have been worth it to avoid scandals befallen administrators in other states.

For example, two Louisiana state officials were indicted for trying to block a federal audit into that state's homeland security spending.

And a legislative auditor criticized Massachusetts officials for approving the purchase of liquid plasma television sets for certain police departments with homeland security money.