• State auditor stands by scathing welfare report


    BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- State Auditor Suzanne Bump is standing by her scathing report, even though Gov. Deval Patrick is questioning its accuracy.

    She tells FOX 25 Political Reporter Sharman Sacchetti the 'pushback' she is receiving from the Patrick administration, is a "mystery."

    Bump's audit shows more than 1,100 dead people received welfare benefits, some for as long as two years after they had died.

    Sacchetti caught up with Gov. Patrick Thursday night before he delivered a commencement address in Springfield.

    When asked about the report, Patrick questioned its accuracy.

    "There's fact and then there's not fact," said the governor. "We've asked for all of the cases because if there's a 'there' there, we need to deal with it."

    Patrick also said, "Let's deal with the scale of these issues in reality, and if the Auditor is telling us there are 1,200 cases, let's see what those cases are really, because the first 178 they told us about turned out mostly not to be a problem."

    Bump says the Administration is "confusing a lot of different data sets," and stands by her report.

    When asked why Gov. Patrick is defensive about those figures, Bump told Sacchetti, "I'm not sure. It really, frankly, is a mystery to me. they could be declaring victory and claiming credit for reform, and instead we're getting into a squabble about just how many are dead."

    Bump also noted the administration hasn't "questioned is the validity of the recommendations that are in the report," adding that "they have adopted them."
    In fact, on Beacon Hill, the audit has sparked calls for reform from both Democrats and Republicans. Attorney General Martha Coakley tells FOX 25 her office is "looking at it now," and deciding if criminal charges should be filed, adding that "We are on it."

    When Sacchetti asked Bump if she thought the Patrick Administration was in denial over the problems she has brought to their attention, she answered, "They fixed the problems that were brought to their attention or working on those fixes."

    "It's a strange situation and I really can't, that I really can't explain. But I think that our audit has served a purpose in identifying weaknesses and their controls against fraud and misuse of benefits," said Bump when asked if they won't admit they have problems.

    When Sacchetti asked Bump if the State Auditor needs an audit, she responded "not in this case!"
    The Department of Transitional Assistance has a new acting commissioner and a 100-day plan to end fraud and abuse. Suzanne Bump is a Democrat who once served on the governor's cabinet as his secretary of labor before she was elected as state auditor.

    When we asked if she would be a candidate for governor she told us no, that she would be running again for the auditor position.

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