Legislature responds to OLA report on CCAP welfare fraud

Inspector General Ham has been placed on administrative leave with pay.

Carolyn Ham

The Minnesota Senate invited the Office of Legislative Auditor (OLA) to brief members at two public hearings on the same day the OLA’s special review, “Child Care Assistance Program: Assessment of Fraud Allegations” was released outlining the OLA’s findings of fraud in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).

To date, Minnesota House leadership has not invited the OLA to brief members, saying it preferred to wait for a second report due in April. Several bills, however, including one endorsed by Gov. Walz, have received hearings. That bill requires a task force, electronic billing and “written notice to the applicant or participant listing the activities that constitute child care fraud and the consequences of committing child care fraud.”

Senate committees have heard bills focused on increasing oversight of CCAP funding: Senator John Jasinski (R- Faribault) would restrict family members from receiving public assistance for the hours they work in a child care setting, and require businesses that receive $250,000 or more in CCAP funds to hold a surety bond of $100,000.

Senator Karin Housley (R- St. Mary’s Point) proposed data sharing between state agencies, and prohibiting those disqualified from CCAP from receiving early learning scholarship funds.  Senator Jerry Relph (R- St. Cloud) would require businesses to maintain “accurate and legible daily attendance records.”

Other bills from Senators Jim Abeler, Michelle Benson and Mark Koran would make the Inspector General at DHS independent of DHS management.

Senator Mark Koran (R- North Branch) called on the Inspector General at DHS, Carolyn Ham, to step down. “By failing to even communicate with the employees in her office responsible for carrying out the mission of the Inspector General, Ms. Ham has proven she is incapable of fulfilling the basic duties of her job.”

Inspector General Ham has been placed on administrative leave with pay.