Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Thursday that politics did not influence the decision to spend millions of dollars in stimulus money on little-used border checkpoints while passing over higher-priority projects.
Members of Congress have asked for answers after The Associated Press showed that the Obama administration did not follow its internal priority list when handing out money to repair border stations nationwide.
Two Montana senators have taken credit for securing money for projects in their state, including $15 million for a border crossing that sees about three travelers a day. Democratic Sen. John Tester said he and colleague Max Baucus personally appealed to Napolitano to make that and other Montana projects happen.
At a Dallas news conference Thursday, Napolitano said the AP story "was just wrong and I'll say that because there was no kind of political issues involved there."
The AP reviewed the department's priority list, which showed that some low-priority projects were being funded ahead of more pressing needs. Officials would not allow AP to keep or publish the list and would not provide justifications for deviating from it.
On Thursday, the AP renewed its request for the department to release its justification for deviating from the list, which Congress requires to be updated annually. (continues here at Yahoo News)