Inquiring Minds Want To Know…

Yesterday Breitbart reported that the book Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite hit #1 on Amazon Saturday, despite the fact that the book’s official release is still over a week away.

The article reports:

Very little is publicly known about the book’s contents. Government Accountability Institute President and Breitbart News senior contributor Peter Schweizer and his investigative team spent a year and a half researching it. A source close to the publisher said the book’s contents will “upend official Washington” and that Schweizer’s prior bombshell revelations about Hunter Biden were “just the tip of the iceberg.” The book is said to contain brand new evidence that five members of Joe Biden’s family—the “Biden Five”—scored “tens of millions of dollars” in taxpayer cash and guaranteed loans.

Mike Allen of Axios, who exclusively announced HarperCollins’ forthcoming release of Profiles in Corruption, reported that the book’s table of contents includes chapters on leading progressives, including:

    • Joe Biden
    • Eric Garcetti
    • Cory Booker
    • Elizabeth Warren
    • Sherrod Brown
    • Bernie Sanders
    • Amy Klobuchar

If Schweizer’s next book is anything like his four previous consecutive New York Times bestsellers, Washington will feel its shockwaves. Secret Empires exposed Joe and Hunter Biden’s Ukraine and China dealings, touching off a firestorm of coverage about Hunter Biden’s $83,000 a month work on behalf of Ukranian energy giant Burisma while Joe Biden led U.S.-Ukraine policy as vice president. Clinton Cash sparked an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation and uncovered the Uranium One scandal. Extortion led to lawmakers retiring. And Throw Them All Out pulled back the curtain on insider trading by members of Congress and led to the passage of the STOCK (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge) Act.

I can’t wait.

How Much Of Our Tax Money Is Wisely Spent?

On Sunday The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about fraud in the government’s food stamp program.

The article reports:

According to a new report produced by the Government and Accountability Office (GAO), at least $1 billion in food stamp benefits are “trafficked annually,” meaning they are fraudulently used. The extent of the fraud is uncertain, the GAO warns, estimating the abuse of the program could be as high as $4.7 billion.

About 20 million lower-income households receive benefits from the $64 billion Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, to buy food. But GAO found that instead of being used for food, many stores are defrauding the program by “selling” cash instead of food.

“For example, a store might give a person $50 in exchange for $100 in benefits – then pocket the difference,” GAO explains.

The article explains one possible remedy:

The fraud, known as “retailer trafficking,” costs taxpayers at least $1 billion. However, the real cost could be “anywhere from $960 million to $4.7 billion,” the GAO adds.

The Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), a Washington, D.C.-based think tank advocating reform, launched a “Stop the Scam initiative” to raise awareness of the widespread problem.

“Welfare fraud is one of the biggest untold stories of the last decade, robbing resources from the truly needy and eroding public trust in the integrity of our welfare programs,” Sam Adolphsen, vice president of executive affairs at FGA, said in a statement. “While the bad-actor food stamp retailers exposed in this GAO report are in part to blame, we must not lose sight of the accountability that falls upon the food stamp recipient willing to commit fraud and abuse the system.”

The FGA hopes to reduce fraud and abuse at the state level by uncovering discrepancies in each state’s eligibility systems by regularly reviewing their processes.

Public assistance works best when it is closest to the recipient. That way the people providing the assistance know who is in need and who is taking advantage of the program. It also allows those administering the program to spot fraud more easily. Every program in Washington needs to audited for fraud and cleaned up. That alone might make it unnecessary for Congress to raise the debt ceiling every few months.

The article concludes:

Finally, GAO recommended that FNS should “determine the appropriate scope and time frames for reauthorizing high-risk stores,” increase penalties for retail traffickers, and establish performance measures for its trafficking prevention activities.

The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 gave the USDA the authority to strengthen penalties for retailers that commit fraud, but as of November 2018, FNS had not done so.

“By failing to take timely action to strengthen penalties, FNS has not taken full advantage of an important tool for deterring trafficking,” GAO states.

When the GAO confirms what actions FNS has taken in response to its recommendations, it plans to provide updated information to the public, the agency states. It states that the FNS generally agreed with its findings.

The USDA/FNS did not respond to requests to comment for this story.

 

Hope For Massachusetts

Shaunna O'ConnellLast night I had the pleasure of meeting Massachusetts State Representative Shaunna O’Connell. Shaunna represents the Third Bristol District, which includes most of her hometown of Taunton and Precinct 6 in Easton. Shaunna was elected in 2010. Since taking office she has worked to reform the Electronic Benefits Program (EBT) in Massachusetts, which has been rife with fraud. She has worked for more accountability to the taxpayers of Massachusetts and more transparency in how taxpayer money is spent. We definitely could use more Representatives like Shaunna in Boston.

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