Bruce Alpert, NOLA.com | Times-Picayune By Bruce Alpert, NOLA.com | Times-Picayune on November 01, 2012 at 10:19 AM, updated November 01, 2012 at 11:42 AM Iowa congressman: Go slow with Sandy aid because Katrina victims used it for 'Gucci bags and massage parlors' | NOLA.com WASHINGTON -- An Iowa congressman says Hurricane Sandy victims deserve federal help, but not without a few strings attached -- given how he contends Hurricane Katrina victims spent some emergency aid for "Gucci bags and massage parlors." Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, one of only 11 House members to vote against a $50 billion emergency spending bill for Hurricane Katrina, made the comments during a campaign debate Tuesday with his Democratic House opponent. "I want to get them the resources that are necessary to lift them out of the water and sand and the ashes and the death that's over there in the East Coast and especially in the Northeast," the congressman said in the debate according to multiple media reports. "But not one big shot to just open up the checkbook because they spent it on Gucci bags and massage parlors and everything you can think of in addition to what was necessary." King was alluding to Hurricane Katrina. His Democratic opponent, Christie Villach, called King's remarks "heartless" and "extreme." So, was King speaking accurately? According to the Government Accountability Office, there were indeed abuses in how some aid recipients spent the $2,000 debit cards handed out by FEMA after Hurricane Katrina. It estimated that about 16 percent of early FEMA payouts to Katrina victims were for fraudulent or improper purchases. It cited some examples: $2,000 for five New Orleans Saints season tickets; $3,700 to a jeweler in Arlington Texas for diamond jewelry and watches; and $400 for massage services at the Swedish Institute in Irving, Tex. The GAO didn't say whether any of the jewelry was made by Gucci.