When it comes to child care issues, Rep. Mary Franson is the go-to person. As I do each week, I get an e-letter update from Rep. Franson. This week, the highlight of Rep. Franson’s e-letter was her work on the child care issue. The letter states “A shocking report recently revealed upwards of $100 million of state childcare subsidies being allocated to fraudulent childcare facilities, and then funneled overseas – possibly ending up in the hands of terrorist organizations. In the days following this report, I have received countless calls and emails from people who are rightfully outraged with this level of fraud at the expense of our state’s taxpayers.”

It continues, saying “In response to this concerning report, House Republicans unveiled legislation to prevent childcare fraud and ensure fraudulent public program dollars aren’t sent to countries on the US State Department travel ban list.”

Included were the highlights of the proposal:

  • Allows Department of Human Services (DHS) to use “Immediate Temporary Suspensions” to close childcare providers that do not fully cooperate with investigators if they are suspected of fraud.
  • Creates criminal and civil penalties for those who transfer fraudulent public program funds to countries on the US State Department travel ban list.
  • Creates increased fraud prevention measures in public programs including Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and other welfare programs.
  • Directs the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) to investigate CCAP.

Additionally, on the House floor on Tuesday, I successfully offered an amendment to a bill to mandate DHS take money from its existing budget and allocate it for training for childcare licensing agencies to identify and prevent fraud in the child care assistance program. This is, by far, the biggest Minnesota news story this year. In this post, I wrote that the Dayton administration ignored this fraud:

According to Stillman, he alerted a number of people in DHS, including the Commissioner’s Chief of Staff, with the following message: “Significant amount of these defrauded dollars are being sent overseas to countries and organizations connected to entities known to fund terrorists and terrorism.”

Finally, I’m as appalled as Rep. Franson about this:

I remain deeply troubled that nearly $100 million dollars per year have been fraudulently billed to the state of Minnesota. This breach of public trust indicates that DHS has failed in its duty to protect Minnesota taxpayers, and ensure childcare assistance dollars are going to those who truly need it to afford childcare. This bill starts the conversation as the legislature now intends to prevent future cases of fraud and hold DHS accountable.

The Dayton administration is filled with cronies who weren’t held accountable. This is why a legislator shouldn’t be elected governor. They’ve never run things. Gov. Dayton, as a former US senator, never ran things. That shows in this list of Dayton administration mistakes:

Unfortunately, the widespread fraud of childcare assistance funds is just the latest in a series of blunders by the Dayton Administration’s state agencies. This repeated pattern is highlighted by complications with MNsure’s rollout; MN IT Services’ failed handling of MNLARS; and the inability of DHS to accurately bill tens of thousands of MNcare enrollees. Failures such as these demonstrate the lack of accountability within this administration, and each instance of mismanagement has cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Simply stated, Minnesotans have grown frustrated with this administration’s inability to effectively provide services through taxpayer-funded government programs.

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