Governance
Written by Tom Steward | April 12, 2018

DFL Legislators Livid Over Millionaire Who Took Food Stamps to Expose Loophole

All Minnesota lawmakers should be grateful to Rob Undersander for exposing a loophole in the system that allowed the millionaire to legally take food stamps for a year and a half.

But instead of thanking him for revealing the rampant waste of taxpayer funds in an effort to shore up the food stamp program, DFL legislators “shot the messenger.” Several attacked Undersander for his experiment exposing the system’s shortcomings at a legislative hearing covered by Forum News Service.

Millionaire Rob Undersander sat at a Minnesota House witness stand saying he received food stamps for 19 months to prove a point: Not everyone who gets the aid needs it.

Democratic legislators did not like his Wednesday testimony, particularly Rep. John Considine, DFL-Mankato.

“You knew this was wrong and you did it anyway,” Considine said while staring at Undersander. “I find it pretty despicable. … I am just sorry there is no way we can prosecute you.”

Rob Undersander at the Minnesota Legislature

The Waite Park resident did it to call attention to a bill from Rep. Jeff Howe, R-Rockville, that would require personal assets to be included in the government’s formula for food stamp recipients. Understander legally collected food stamps during a period in which he had little income, the key criteria for receiving the benefit.

The Waite Park millionaire, the focus of most of the Wednesday discussion, said that while he received about $300 a month in food stamps some people in his area who really need the help got just $14.

Rep. Laurie Halverson, DFL-Eagan, joined others in her party to criticize Undersander.

“I am finding it incredibly offensive that $6,000 in benefits were taken,” Halvorson said.

Added Rep. Jennifer Schultz, DFL-Duluth: “I think it is inappropriate to apply for these benefits.”

Undersander’s conscience is clear. He offset the amount of food stamps he lawfully received through charitable contributions.

Undersander said he accomplished his goal.

“I have obviously gotten your attention,” he told lawmakers.

Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, praised the Waite Park man.

“I am really sorry about the line of questioning that has been put forth, and the accusations,” she said. “You should be able to come to a committee without being accused of being a thief.”

Of course, the real thieves are those in positions of authority who don’t care enough to improve the system in order to protect both those in need and the taxpayers who underwrite it.

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