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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

NAACP Calls For Justice Department To Look Into Mississippi Welfare Fraud Case

The suit alleges widespread welfare fraud and misspending had been occurring for years in Mississippi totaling over $94 million

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The Department of Justice building is pictured in Washington, DC, on January 22, 2022.
The Department of Justice building is pictured in Washington, DC, on January 22, 2022.
Photo: STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP (Getty Images)

In a letter obtained by ABC News, the NAACP is calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate years of alleged welfare fraud and misspending in Mississippi–totaling around $94 million. NAACP President Derrick Johnson stated the DOJ needs to investigate and prosecute those responsible “for the massive theft of federal funds that took place in Mississippi in fiscal years 2017 through 2019.” Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the country.

From ABC News:

The NAACP’s Johnson said in his letter, “these apparent crimes were ignored by DOJ under your predecessor Attorney General, and we are calling on you to take action that is long overdue.”

Johnson said the Mississippi state auditor’s findings were referred to the Justice Department, “however, nearly two years later, despite the overwhelming documentary evidence of fraud, forgery, and abuse in this matter, DOJ has not yet launched a criminal investigation.”

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The letter also notes Mississippi State Auditor Shad White alleged that money set aside from the federal government for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) programs were misappropriated under the leadership of John Davis, then-head of the Mississippi Department of Human Services. Six people have been indicted on state charges, including Davis. Davis has pleaded not guilty, court records show.

Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre received almost $1.1 million in welfare funds and allegedly received the funds for speeches that he did not give. The Associated Press notes he has started paying back the funds. Some of the money spent included $635,000 for a virtual reality lab that included individuals who weren’t identified as needy and $44,000 to retired professional football players for football camps that focused on student-athletes and did not address helping at-risk youth.

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White claimed this was the “most egregious misspending my staff has seen in their careers at the Office of the State Auditor” and went on further after the 2020 indictments.

“This is an example of money going to or should have gone to folks who needed it through a federal program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). To those families, I say, I’m incredibly sorry that this money did not go to your benefit as it should have. But you need to know that you have advocates who are standing up for you, and this is not going to be allowed and it’s stopping right now.”

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The NAACP’s Johnson, in the letter, spoke to the ineffectiveness of Garland’s predecessor and to take action that is “long overdue.”

Johnson said the Mississippi state auditor’s findings were referred to the Justice Department, “however, nearly two years later, despite the overwhelming documentary evidence of fraud, forgery, and abuse in this matter, DOJ has not yet launched a criminal investigation.”