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VOS: WIS. SHARES FRAUD UNACCEPTABLE

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Robin J. Vos State Representative • 63rd Assembly District • Racine County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For Further Information Contact: September 29, 2009

Rep. Robin Vos

(608) 266 9171

VOS: WIS. SHARES FRAUD UNACCEPTABLE

Secretary Bicha testifies before legislative committee, but Madison Democrats choose politics-as-usual and bureaucratic excuses over real accountability.

Madison… Over the course of the year, scandal has rocked the state’s Wisconsin Shares child care program, uncovering millions in fraud and a bureaucracy forced to play catch-up to front-page stories. State Representative Robin Vos (R-Caledonia), a member of theJoint Finance Committee, questioned the Department of Children and Families’ handling of the $385 million program, as well as the Madison Democrats’ “blame game” response.

“The taxpayers of Wisconsin have already been forced to put up with millions of dollars in waste and fraud,” Vos said, “and today the Democrats burned more calories passing the buck and explaining why local officials were to blame than trying to solve the problem. Wisconsin deserves better than embarrassing headlines and empty excuses.”

During the committee’s grilling, Vos raised the following questions:

· Why the state cut more than $1 million in welfare fraud investigation around the state – and now has to scramble to explain why criminals found it so easy to bilk the system;

· Why the department doesn’t check for legal residence as a condition of payment – making sure that the government checks are at least going to people who are in the country legally;

· Why an accusation of fraud isn’t enough to put a hold on the checks – why doesn’t the system mirror unemployment checks, which stop payments once there’s an investigation; and

· Why the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had to bring the issue to the fore, and if any fraud prevention measures had been in place before the headlines broke.

The Madison Democrats in charge of the Finance Committee then cut off debate and questioning of the top official in charge of the Wisconsin Shares program, saying that a couple of hours of scrutiny is enough.

“Government-as-usual got us into this problem, and I’m worried that government-as-usual is going to keep us there,” Vos said. “We shouldn’t have seen the co-chair of the finance committee standing up for the agency he’s supposed to be grilling, but that’s the situation we find ourselves in.”

Vos said he is looking forward to expressing his additional concerns to the Department directly, and will be working with members on both sides of the aisle to find real solutions to the fundamental shortcomings in the Wisconsin Shares program.

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