Finstad Joins Chairwoman Foxx in Leading Letter to Governor Walz and the Minnesota Department of Education Demanding Transparency from Feeding Our Future Fraud Scheme
November 14, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Brad Finstad (MN-01) joined House Education and the Workforce Chairwoman Virginia Foxx, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn “G.T.” Thompson, and House Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer, along with the Republican members of the Minnesota delegation in sending a letter to Governor Tim Walz and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), requesting all documentation related to MDE’s oversight of Feeding Our Future.
“USDA and its state partner, Minnesota Department of Education, are directly responsible for the mismanagement of child nutrition programs that led to the largest COVID-related fraud in the country,” said Rep. Finstad. “It is critical that we have all the information necessary from MDE to understand the extent to which these programs were exploited by bad actors at the expense of hungry kids and families. My colleagues and I remain committed to demanding transparency at every level of government to get the answers we need in order to safeguard these food programs and hold accountable those responsible for allowing this fraud to occur.”
“Due to a lack of transparency from the State of Minnesota and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we are no closer to understanding how $250 million of taxpayer funds were stolen from children and families in need. Minnesotans deserve answers. We will continue to do our work to hold those responsible to account and prevent this from occurring again.” – Majority Whip Tom Emmer
“Feeding Our Future’s alleged fraud has been described as the largest COVID-19 fraud scheme in the nation,” said Rep. Fischbach (MN-07). “Taxpayers deserve to know how $250 million could be stolen from those in need with no one the wiser. My colleagues and I are determined to prevent anything like this from happening again. I look forward to a swift response so our work can continue.”
“It is shocking that the Minnesota Department of Education along with the Department of Agriculture’s Food Nutrition Service failed to prevent what has been described as the largest COVID-19 fraud scheme in the nation,” said Rep. Stauber (MN-08). “This scandal raises many questions, and I believe Minnesotans deserve answers. We need to know exactly how such a large amount of taxpayer money was allowed to be stolen at the expense of some of our state’s most vulnerable. That’s why I am proud to sign onto to this letter demanding the Minnesota Department of Education provide the necessary documents so our House Committees can properly conduct a much-needed investigation into this shameful scandal.”
On September 30, 2022, Rep. Finstad was joined by Reps. Michelle Fischbach (MN-07), Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08), and Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06), along with Ranking Members Foxx, Thompson, and Comer in a letter sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) demanding stronger oversight into meal programs administered by the Food & Nutrition Service.
Additionally, in March 2023, after more than ten months passed with no response from the administration, Rep. Finstad questioned Secretary Vilsack about USDA’s lack of oversight into its child nutrition programs, and again requested USDA respond to the September request for information on the lack of oversight in FNS programs that led to the exploitation of millions of dollars to feed hungry children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most recently, in July 2023, Rep. Finstad led the Republican Minnesota delegation in reiterating their September 2022 request for USDA to provide information on the mismanagement of its child nutrition program. Additionally, Rep. Finstad introduced the Feeding Children Not Fraudsters Act, which would audit any cases of COVID-related fraud through USDA child nutrition programs. The legislation was cosponsored by Reps. Fischbach and Stauber.