Washington, D.C. - Today, Congresswoman Fischbach led the Minnesota Republican Delegation and Ranking Members Foxx, Thompson, and Comer in sending a letter to USDA requesting information regarding certain USDA meals programs and their administration in light of last week’s unsealing of charges of alleged fraud at Feeding Our Future.
Last week, the Department of Justice unsealed charges alleging roughly $250 million in CACFP and SFSP funds were fraudulently claimed by Feeding Our Future and numerous individuals connected with the organization. In total, 49 suspects have been charged in connection with the alleged fraud and may grow as the investigation continues.
“Last week’s revelations make disturbing allegations of the integrity of programs meant to feed the hungry.” Congresswoman Fischbach (R-MN) said, “It is critical that Congress conduct extensive oversight and ensure proper safeguards are in place to protect taxpayer funds from future fraud and abuse. Today’s letter is an important step in bringing to light any potential points of exploitation in USDA meals programs.”
House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-KY) said, “The Biden Administration must account for how it failed to protect taxpayer dollars intended to feed children during the pandemic from massive fraud. These fraudsters stole hundreds of millions from American taxpayers to fund their lavish lifestyles instead of providing meals for children in need. Americans deserve answers and accountability for this exploitation and gross mismanagement of taxpayer dollars.”
“There is far too much fraud and mismanagement going on in our federal agencies. The taxpayers deserve better. Republicans must stand in the gap between these federal programs, intent on throwing millions of dollars down the drain, and the taxpayers struggling to pay their bills. When programs do not work as intended—there must be accountability. We cannot tolerate any more blame shirking from this administration, the buck stops here. We demand accountability for this massive waste,” said Education and Labor Committee Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R-NC).
“The allegations against Feeding Our Future are sickening and it is imperative we receive more information from USDA. I was eager to join the Minnesota delegation in demanding answers," said Glenn “GT” Thompson, Republican Leader of the House Committee on Agriculture (R-PA).
“Fraud on this level is proof that exploitation is the norm for large-scale government spending, not the exception. Feeding Our Future stole from the pockets of every American taxpayer. We deserve answers and accountability," said Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN).
“I am disgusted by the news of the rampant fraud and abuse regarding Feeding Our Future,” said Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN). “Congress, Minnesotans and American taxpayers need clear answers now about the largest case of fraud in the nation with what was supposed to be COVID relief funding. This is a disgrace to our state and taxpayers deserve accountability.”
"As a father, I find it reprehensible that taxpayer money intended for feeding the hungry, especially children and seniors, was deliberately misused at the expense of needy families right in our home state. We must investigate further the extent of this shameful fraud scheme and ensure strong oversight of all meal programs administered by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. These programs are intended to help meet the needs of the food-insecure throughout our communities and in order to ensure the success of these programs, we must hold those responsible for this widespread fraud accountable," said Congressman Finstad (R-MN).
Background: The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and Summer Food Service Programs (SFSP) are United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funded, state agency administered programs intended to provide reimbursement for meals to eligible individuals. States contract with entities who provide meals who then claim reimbursement for those meals. USDA provides the funding for these reimbursements while state agencies generally lead administrative duties, such as reimbursement of funds and oversight of meal sites. The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is the designated state agency responsible for administering both CACFP and SFSP.
Feeding Our Future was a nonprofit organization approved by MDE to be a sponsor of federal meals programs. Criminal charges unsealed last week allege that 48 people, including Feeding Our Future’s leader, conspired to fraudulently claim $250 million in federal meals funds that were allegedly spent instead on luxury vehicles, real estate, and other unlawful purchases. You can read the full letter here.
Michelle Fischbach is a wife, mom, grandma, attorney, and the U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s Seventh Congressional District. Get updates from Rep. Fischbach’s congressional office on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.