ST. PAUL, MN – State Reps. Dan Fabian, R-Roseau, and Deb Kiel, R-Crookston, joined a letter sent Tuesday signed by all 55 members of the House Republican Caucus to House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, requesting hearings on the ongoing turmoil at DHS during the upcoming “mini-session” scheduled for Oct. 2-4 in Winona. Hortman announced the mini-session dates in an email to legislators last Thursday.
“Minnesotans are asking for answers as to why a state agency that is supported with billions of tax dollars appears to be in complete disarray,” Fabian said. “Agency leaders have resigned, questions remain regarding childcare fraud and, now, reports are showing DHS overpaid $25 million for Medicaid services. This kind of waste, fraud, abuse and an utter lack of leadership are unacceptable.”
“Taxpayers deserve transparency about what’s causing the leadership shakeup at DHS,” Kiel said. “The lack of interest and oversight by House Democrats so far has been disappointing. While we must continue pressing for answers now, I hope they will schedule hearings during the upcoming mini-session so Minnesotans can learn more about what’s going on.”
Earlier this month, top Republicans on the various committees overseeing DHS wrote to DFL Chairs Tina Liebling, DFL-Rochester, Rena Moran, DFL-St. Paul, and Dave Pinto, DFL-St. Paul, calling for hearings. Those requests have thus far been ignored.
Newspaper editorial boards have called for transparency and clarity on the turmoil that led to the resignation of top officials, and the abrupt departure of former Commissioner Lourey after just six months on the job. The Fairmont Sentinel said in an editorial earlier this month that “Nobody is offering much in the way of real explanations as to what is going on. So Gov. Walz has some explaining to do. It’s time for some answers.” The Duluth News Tribune echoed those sentiments, saying “Minnesota taxpayers want to know just what’s going on. We deserve to know. We have a right to know.”