You can’t make this stuff up. Just when you thought that Minnesota’s Department of Human Services couldn’t get more corrupt, more proof surfaces proving that it’s totally corrupted. It’s worth noting that the DFL was in charge the vast majority of the time that DHS was corrupted.
Let’s start with the fact that there are 3 new scandals that DHS has to deal with.
Just recently we learned of three new financial management errors at the department. Counties and tribes will have to foot the bill for these mistakes, to the tune of more than $20 million. We also learned that DHS and other state agencies routinely violated state contract and spending laws, with more than 1,800 violations in the last year alone.
Sen. Michelle Benson had this to say about the situation:
I am cautiously optimistic that the new commissioner, Jodi Harpstead, is sincerely interested in fixing the problems at the department. She has made a habit of personally calling to let me know of new problems before they have become public. This is a welcome change of pace from the last few years. However, I will continue to judge her by her actions rather than her words, and if we don’t see adequate progress we will hold her accountable.
I do, however, expect far more from Gov. Walz. He doesn’t seem remotely interested in the problems happening on his watch and he has not been willing to engage with legislative leaders. If he doesn’t get in the game soon, we are going to have big problems. He can’t ignore this.
Gov. Walz has paid attention to the insulin crisis, though that’s largely been fixed. Gov. Walz hasn’t paid much attention to the DHS problem because that ‘just’ involves mismanaging millions of taxpayers’ dollars. Then there’s this from Rep. Mary Franson:
Carolyn Ham, the former Inspector General, is still on paid leave from DHS. She repeatedly showed poor judgement in addressing fraud in the Child Care Assistance Program. Based on emails obtained through a data request, it appears she had more interest in managing the political ramifications of the fraud than investigating the fraud itself.
Ham also continued working with the Minnesota Minority Child Care Association (MMCCA), even though the President of MMCCA was sanctioned by DHS for fraud. She tried to throw off reporters looking into her relationship with the MMCCA president, saying she “didn’t recall” meeting with him, even though he claimed they met three times.
Rather than Carolyn Ham updating the Legislature on fraud investigations, she instead went to MMCCA and another activist association to solicit input on the fraud situation and discuss “consequences for political agendas.” Then, when a story about $100 million in Child Care Assistance fraud was about to break, Ham wanted to give MMCCA a “heads up.”
Wow! That’s bigtime corruption on steroids. Unfortunately, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s more:
Included in the documents I received from DHS, I also learned that a Deputy Inspector was told during a meeting with child care providers that “it is well known that providers give kickbacks to mothers for bringing their children and supplied fake paychecks.” Meanwhile, our investigators are being treated like criminals while DHS is completely aware that corruption is present in the CCAP program.
What isn’t disputed is that he DFL is in charge of DHS. The DHS is part of the executive branch, which is the governor’s responsibility. We’ve had DFL control of DHS for a decade. Finally, there’s this frightening report:
In one email, an employee debated issuing a check to a child care center for $24,000, rather than the usual electronic payment. The reason for the change? Their initial payment was rejected due to the account being frozen – because the center’s owner is associated with a Taliban official.
How do you ask that question after seeing the account is frozen? This isn’t just a meaningless detail. It’s a major red flag and the DFL missed it entirely. That type of incompetence can’t be tolerated.