Cloak and Dagger In the Free Food Scandal

Earlier this week, an anonymously-mailed package arrived at the American Experiment office. It was addressed to Bill Glahn, an American Experiment employee who has probably done more than anyone else to delve into the intricacies of the Feeding Our Future scandal. Regular Power Line readers may recall that more than $250 million was stolen brazenly by fraudsters operating under the umbrella of the nonprofit Feeding Our Future and two other entities. More than 40 individuals have been indicted, including the principals of Feeding Our Future, who allegedly received large kickbacks in return for facilitating the fraud. The money was stolen from a federal program intended to provide free meals to poor children; the program was administered by Minnesota’s Department of Education.

So what was in the package? An anonymous cover letter that presumably came from someone associated with the now-defunct Feeding Our Future, and copies of emails exchanged in August 2021 among Feeding Our Future’s founder and its lawyer on one hand, and representatives of the Minnesota Department of Education and Minnesota’s Attorney General’s office on the other.

What do the emails show? Feeding Our Future told the Department of Education that it suspected fraud on the part of one of the organizations participating in the free food program, House of Refuge. FoF wrote, rather implausibly, that this was the first indication of fraud in the program that had come to its attention, and asked for guidance from the Department.

Bill Glahn has written a post on the mysterious envelope that includes a link to all of the emails. The post’s title–“Even Feeding Our Future tried to warn state officials about fraud”–sums it up well. Minnesota’s Department of Education and Attorney General’s office essentially blew off Feeding Our Future’s concerns. They couldn’t be bothered, apparently. At one point, a Department of Education employee wrote, “MDE takes no position if fraud has taken place.”

It is quite remarkable: the principals of Feeding Our Future are presumed to be on their way to the penitentiary, but even they showed more concern about millions in stolen money than Minnesota’s Department of Education and Attorney General’s office.

In this year’s election, both Governor Tim Walz, who oversees the Department of Education, and Keith Ellison, our attorney general, have struggled to deal with the Feeding Our Future scandal, the worst of its kind in Minnesota’s history. They both have claimed that their respective agencies did a terrific job, and it is a feather in their caps that the fraud was stopped after only $250 million (and counting, more indictments are waiting in the wings) was stolen.

That is, let’s just say, a tough sell. And it gets even tougher when the people who have been indicted were tugging on the lapels of Walz’s and Ellison’s employees to report a fraud, and couldn’t get the time of day.

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