Feeding Fraud Program at MDE Wins Golden Turkey Award for Wasteful Spending
We have a winner! Poor management and oversight by the Minnesota Department of Education of a pandemic-related food program won them the fourth annual Golden Turkey Award, given by Center of the American Experiment.
Indictments related to the program have identified $250 million in fraud, and that number is likely to grow as the FBI and U.S. Attorney continue their investigation. One thing that won’t need investigating (or a recount) is the final vote tally for this year’s award, with Feeding Our Future Fraud winning almost 80% of the online vote. Almost 3,000 Minnesotans participated in this year’s contest.
The Golden Turkey Award is a lighthearted contest that brings much-needed attention to the budget and allows Minnesotans to weigh in on the silliest spending of the year. Past winners include Gov. Tim Walz’s $6.9 million unused morgue, an extravagant rest stop on Highway 35, and an expensive bus stop that sits empty.
“It’s easy to see how the Feeding Our Future fraud program won this year’s Golden Turkey with the sheer size of the fraud, with at least $250 million stolen from the taxpayers,” said John Hinderaker, President of Center of the American Experiment. “While most nominees for this award are merely silly or wasteful, this program was actually criminal.”
Fraudsters at non-profits like Feeding Our Future and Partners In Nutrition used computer programs to generate fake children’s names and enroll them in the federally-funded free meal program. Sites were allegedly run out of small offices claiming to feed thousands of meals a day. Bureaucrats at MDE ignored their duty to oversee the program and failed to make routine site visits that would have exposed the fraud immediately. Millions of dollars were stolen before the FBI finally stepped in and shut it down in January 2022.
But not before the fraudsters bought luxury cars, boats, houses and trips. Worse yet, a lot of the stolen money left the county and will never be recovered. We’ve been tracking the scandal from the beginning. Click here for the timeline of events.
To read about the three runner-ups, click here. To read about the first-ever Golden Turkey Lifetime Achievement Award, go here.