“I’m a Mississippian born and raised, and this particular kind of fraud was just a particularly egregious failure to use the money for what the TANF Act calls “needy families,” which we have supplies in Mississippi and have.” Big, big needs,” he said. “I find it particularly insulting that they have so blatantly wasted so many millions of dollars to end poverty in this state and instead spent it on each other, celebrities, corporations and their favorite institutions.”
Mississippi politics has for years been dominated by Republicans who are skeptical of the effectiveness of the federal welfare system. Their concerns about the potential misuse of federal funds by poor people have led to strict safeguards to prevent fraud, and the state has been particularly careful about which poor people can receive aid: an article by ThinkProgress, a progressive news site, found. That in 2016, only 167 of Mississippi’s 11,700 households were approved for TANF payments.
Critics say the abuse in Mississippi should have been addressed when, in 1996, the old welfare system, which provided cash benefits to poor families, was replaced by a block-grant system given to states that gave them much more freedom over how. spend money.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been investigating the scandal for more than two years, according to Logan Reeves, a spokesman for the state auditor’s office. This month, Representative Benny Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi, asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to focus on Mr. Favre and Mr. Bryant, writing that the latter “clearly took steps to ensure that Mississippi’s poorest citizens are denied the welfare funds that are supposed to benefit them.” families”.
“The people of Mississippi deserve answers,” Mr. Thompson wrote.
Mr. Bryant did not immediately respond to a message on Saturday, but in a statement earlier this month, prompted by Mr. Thompson’s letter, a representative for Mr. Bryant said he denied any wrongdoing. “The allegations against Governor Bryant are false,” the statement said. “All claims against these individuals were investigated and adjudicated by Governor Bryant’s request to the state auditor.”
In April, Mississippi Today reported that $1.7 million in welfare money had gone to a pharmaceutical company in which Mr. Favre had invested, and that Mr. Bryant, who knew public funds were going to the company, had agreed to take stock in the company. After leaving office. (Ultimately, the news service reported that Mr. Bryant did not receive the supplies.)