State lawmakers want to know if anyone is taking advantage of the state’s FoodShare program, which provides aid to low-income families to purchase nutritious food. State Senator Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) says the Legislature’s Audit Committee, which he co-chairs, ordered a review after the benefits the program paid out in the last four years jumped by nearly $650 million.
Cowles admits a large portion of that increase is likely due to the recession. However, he says there’s at least anecdotal evidence that there has been fraud in the southeastern region of the state and an audit should help to determine exactly what has been going on.
Cowles says possible cases of fraud could include people selling cards issued under the program, then trying to claim replacements. He says they need to know whether reports lawmakers have been hearing are just isolated incidents or if there’s a large scale pattern of abuse.
The Green Bay Republican says the audit is not intended to find ways to eliminate FoodShare, which he believes many needy families do rely on for assistance. Cowles says it does really irritate people though when citizens who don’t need help are getting it or finding ways to defraud the system.
The Joint Audit Committee unanimously authorized the review on Tuesday. It should be complete by later this year.