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Court rejects secrecy for food stamp numbers

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  • Court rejects secrecy for food stamp numbers

    A federal appeals court has rejected the Obama Administration's attempt to keep secret the government's data on how much individual retailers take in from the food stamp program.

    In a ruling Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit turned down the U.S. Department of Agriculture's arguments that a provision in federal law protecting retailers' application information from disclosure also barred disclosure of how much the feds pay out to specific businesses.

    "Because the retailer spending information is not 'submit[ted]' by 'an applicant retail food store or wholesale food concern...' the information is not exempt from disclosure. The department, not any retailer, generates the information, and the underlying data is 'obtained' from third-party payment processors, not from individual retailers," Chief Judge William Jay Riley wrote in an opinion joined by Judges Steven Colloton and Jane Kelly.

    The judges acted on an appeal filed by South Dakota's Argus Leader newspaper after the USDA turned down the paper's Freedom of Information Act request for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program payments to individual retailers on an annual basis from 2005 to 2010. A district court judge agreed with the federal government's argument that part of the food stamp program statute barred such disclosure, making the data exempt from FOIA.

    Riley's nine-page opinion (posted here) reads the statute differently and also makes references to the public interest in disclosure of the information given both growth and fraud in the food stamp program.

    The unanimous appeals court opinion calls the program "burgeoning" and "one of America’s largest and fastest growing welfare arrangements."

    "Between 2007 and 2011, spending 'more than doubled . . . from about $30 billion to $72 billion,'" Riley wrote, adding that "over fifteen percent of the population" received food stamp benefits in fiscal 2012. The judge also noted that USDA has found trading of food stamps for cash to be a significant problem, with about 10% of retailers reportedly engaging in such fraud.

    "Congress has clearly indicated its intent to involve the public in counteracting fraud perpetrated by retailers participating in the program," Riley added. He and Colloton are appointees of President George W. Bush. Kelly is an appointee of President Barack Obama.

    More at Link
    May we raise children who love the unloved things - the dandelion, the worm, the spiderlings.
    Children who sense the rose needs the thorn and run into rainswept days the same way they turn towards the sun...
    And when they're grown and someone has to speak for those who have no voice,
    may they draw upon that wilder bond, those days of tending tender things and be the one.

  • #2
    The judge also noted that USDA has found trading of food stamps for cash to be a significant problem, with about 10% of retailers reportedly engaging in such fraud.
    Couple that with the amount of food stamps for sale and this is out of control.

    Retailers not only do cash transactions but turn a blind eye to the card holder swiping it while another individual pays for the reduced purchase.

    That is the deal.

    Only the card holder can actually use the card unless they give up their pin.

    They will give up the card and pin to someone they trust, but in the market, if they don't have close ties to the person, they swipe the card and authorize with the pin for the purchase with the 'purchaser'.

    Happens thousands of times a day.
    I have some FB friends who monthly ask for food stamp purchases.
    It is a huge black market of benefits.
    Robert Francis O'Rourke, Democrat, White guy, spent ~78 million to defeat, Ted Cruz, Republican immigrant Dark guy …
    and lost …
    But the Republicans are racist.


    • #3
      I would guess that we are approached 3 or 4 times a year in Walmart to collude with a SNAP scam. How many people take the welfare thieves up on it? I'd bet 7 out of 10 do. SNAP scammers aren't motivated enough to actually work at any con.
      "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."