ST. PAUL, MN—Rep. Joe Schomacker, R-Luverne, Republican Lead on the House Health and Human Services Finance Division, issued the following statement regarding today's House hearing regarding the ongoing issues at the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). At the hearing, Commissioner Harpstead indicated that no one has been disciplined for tens of millions in overpayments to tribes, and was reluctant to endorse Republican calls for a forensic audit of all DHS spending.
"Commissioner Harpstead has started to turn the ship around, but we are troubled there is resistance to calls for a full audit of DHS and that no one has been held accountable for tens of millions in mismanaged tax dollars. Governor Walz twice has endorsed a forensic audit of DHS so Minnesotans can be confident that their tax dollars are being used responsibly—we hope Commissioner Harpstead will work with the legislature and the Governor to craft an audit plan that DHS desperately needs."
Commissioner Harpstead also revealed late in the hearing that the investigation into former DHS Inspector General Carolyn Ham has concluded with no disciplinary action taken. As a result, no further information is likely to be released about the contents or findings of the investigation. The revelation came in response to a question from Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria.
“It is shocking that the conclusion of this very serious investigation into Carolyn Ham’s conduct at DHS was so briefly addressed in the hearing,” Franson said. “An independent audit found 'pervasive' fraud in the childcare system, and a 'serious rift' that occurred under her leadership and impeded the important work of the Inspector General's Office. The public deserves to know what her role was, and why no one has been held accountable for the failure to stop widespread childcare fraud.”