State’s investigation into food stamp fraud spreads to Department of Social Services employees – the group that was “overseeing” the giveaway. You offer something for free, of course people are going to want it (estimate of how many people would need additional food stamps after Hurricane Irene doubled from the original guess of 10,000). And it’s hardly surprising that state employees, witnessing this largess on behalf of tax payers, would want in on the game too and scam it.
That doesn’t mean the employees shouldn’t be fired and prosecuted, but maybe the state should be looking at why it felt extra bags of popcorn for the poor was a good idea or even necessary in the first place. If you’re unemployed, how does a hurricane hurt you? There’s no job you have to get to and I know of no scientific study documenting increased hunger during storms. My guess is, like the recipients themselves, the state saw an opportunity to grab hold of extra federal money and, like George Plunkett, took it. Mr. Plunkett called that sort of behavior “honest graft” – his spirit lives on in Hartford.