Minnesota Department of Education lacked system to prevent financial fraud, state senator says

A prominent state senator says he doesn’t believe the Minnesota Department of Education has enough checks and balances to prevent fraud in its management of federal funds earmarked to feed low-income children.

“I think we’re getting closer to the fact that they really don’t have tight internal controls,” Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, said in an interview Wednesday after a third Senate hearing on the matter. “And they didn’t look at this very closely, and that’s why it wasn’t caught.”

Two officials from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) who oversee the state’s access to federal food programs answered questions earlier Wednesday before the Senate Education Finance and Policy Committee. Chamberlain chairs the committee, which has grilled state education officials about their handling of alleged fraud committed by Feeding Our Future. No one has been publicly indicated in the case.

MDE officials have said the department is not under investigation.

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