Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Walker Has Found The Fraud, And It Is Him

Scott Walker, looking for something - anything - that wouldn't turn instantly toxic to his chances of surviving the coming recall, seized upon a report from his "Commission of Waste, Fraud and Abuse."

Sadly for Walker, but completely unsurprisingly, this too is blowing up on him.

Senator Chris Larson and Representative Mark Pocan, who are members of this "commission" have a more than a few issues with Walker's move born of desperation. From their press release:
The Walker report takes credit for savings the state has nothing to do with or savings already accounted for from previous actions of state government. The misleading report did not even include a final vote for passage by its members before completion. While Governor Walker has publicly touted his report, he has yet to release the report because it does not stand up to scrutiny, according to Pocan and Larson.

“Governor Walker’s commission issued a misleading report that takes credit for decisions that have already been made or that are outside of the authority of state government,” said Rep. Pocan. “Much of the supposed savings in Governor Walker’s plan are about as real as the Loch Ness Monster.”


Therefore, the commission was expected to identify new savings of state tax dollars to keep Governor Walker’s promise. According to Pocan and Larson, Walker’s report did not meet its goal.

“Taking credit for money saved under a federal bill that isn’t even law yet has nothing to do with finding current waste, fraud and abuse in state government,” said Sen. Larson. “This commission was more of a fraud upon the public than a useful roadmap into the future. In fact, Governor Walker is already ignoring a suggestion by the commission to invest more to crack down on tax cheats.”

The commission recommended hiring more tax collectors to crack down on tax cheats, which would generate much needed revenue for the state. However, the Walker Administration recently directed the Department of Revenue to lapse more than $2 million that was supposed to assist in the collection of taxes owed to the state.
Larson and Pocan also issued their own, truth-based report which rebuts Walker's bloviations rather effectively.

It should be noted that Larson and Pocan also have the quote of the week with their closing line in the report:
It is our hope that whoever is Governor in 2012 will have a more sincere interest in safeguarding the integrity of Wisconsin government and services
But there's more to the story than what even Larson and Pocan covered. And to be honest, it's something that Larson is all too familiar with from the days he served as Milwaukee County Supervisor.

In the Milwaukee Business Journal, they have this blurb at the end of their report on this issue:
The report said $177 million could be saved with changes to various state social service programs. FoodShare, for example, should hire internal inspector generals to conduct audits and implement measures to prevent sale of QUEST cards, which are the modern equivalent of food stamps.
What's not included in Walker's release or in the news report is another area where fraud was rampant, child care.

Nor is it included anywhere that I saw that the largest areas of these cases of fraud occurring was Milwaukee County, during the time that Walker was county executive.

In fact two years ago, I brought up this very issue. The state received an email from the federal government expressing concern regarding the poor performance of the Economic Support System in Milwaukee County. The poor performance is directly tied to Walker willfully failing to fully staff the program even though he had the funding to do so. You can read my entire post here at Milwaukee County First, but I would point out this section specifically:
The interview process is has two concerns tied into it. One is that if the ESS workers are not doing sufficient interviews, people might not be receiving all of the benefits that they are eligible for. In these dire economic times, every bit of help becomes vital.

The other side of the interview coin is that without sufficient in depth interviews, it could open up the Foodshare program for fraud, such as had happened with child care services.
By the way, after Governor Jim Doyle ordered the state take the program over and fully staffed it, in order to avoid a class action lawsuit, things improved.

I iterated and expanded on this point three months ago, here on Cog Dis, when Walker claimed he was going to resolve all the fraud:
The funny thing about all this is that it is the equivalent of Walker announcing he is going to clean up some milk that he spilled.

When he was Milwaukee County Executive, he actually helped foment and grow the problem by cutting the number of staff that were assigned to do fraud investigation. His mismanagement of this entire program led to a class action lawsuit being filed against Milwaukee County and the State of Wisconsin. Governor Jim Doyle saved Walker's political hide by taking over the state and bringing the program back to full staff and within compliance of the law.

One of the county workers that did do fraud investigation, Cynthia Jaeger, who was a county worker until her retirement a three years ago, was so good at her job that she won state recognition for her work and was the only worker in the entire nation to recoup more than $1 million in a single year. Cindy saved tax payers more than $5 million in a three year span. And she did that just at county wages, including furloughs.

So how did Walker, who claims that "preventing waste, fraud and abuse of tax payer dollars" is his top priority, recognize the hard work of Ms. Jaeger and all of the money she saved the tax payers? Employee of the month? Special commendation?

Nope, he let her retire without a word and without filling her then vacant position.
So much of the fraud that Walker's commission "found" was actually caused by Walker and his "money-saving" stunts that he pulled as county executive.  And as always, it will be the taxpayers and the most vulnerable citizens that will end up paying for his maleficent negligence.

I could have saved the taxpayers tons of money and expense by writing the commission's fraud three months ago, with the perfect solution as well:

See how easy that was?


  1. You're not talking to yourself. We're listening. Take a breath and keep up the good work.

  2. Walker announcing he is going to clean up some milk that he spilled....Love it Nice work as always