Gov. Dannel P. Malloy maintained Wednesday that the Department of Social Services executed the post-Irene food stamps pursuant to federal guidelines and refused to slow down the pace of the investigations.
Earlier this week an attorney representing several state employees accused of fraud called on the administration to slow down and cautioned that it looked like a “political witch hunt.”
“We’re going to move rapidly as we’ve already evidenced to investigate and make sure those individuals who may have falsified those documents or accessed that money unfairly and illegally are dealt with,” Malloy said Wednesday.
Rich Rochlin, the attorney who represents some of the state employees accused of fraud, told CTNewsjunkie on Monday that eligibility workers processing the applications created problems for a handful of his clients because they changed information on the applications in order to get them to qualify.
According to Rochlin, one of his clients wrote down that she had $2,000 in the bank and the eligibility worker allegedly asked her if she had bills to pay. The client said she does have bills to pay and the eligibility worker proceeded to cross off the $2,000 and hand over a debt card, Rochlin said.
“Listen, if somebody’s being paid $250 an hour to represent somebody what do you think he’s going to say,” Malloy said when asked about the account. “The reality is that they’re going to use every argument to defend their clients and their clients are presumed innocent until they proven guilty in a criminal proceeding. There’s a different standard that applies in a civil proceeding.”
Malloy said the administrative hearing procedure will be followed and state employees accused of fraud will be given due process.
However, Andrew McDonald, Malloy’s chief legal counsel, said Wednesday afternoon in a letter to Rochlin that he’d be more than willing to hand over the applications of Rochlin’s clients to the media to be vetted.
McDonald proffered, “if you will identify your clients to me, and have them waive all of their confidentiality rights under the various applicable state statutes, together with waiving their union representation rights, I will release your clients’ D-SNAP applications to the press. In doing so, the media would be able to independently examine whether the claims made by your clients are truthful, and whether they qualify for D-SNAP benefits.”
Rochlin declined the offer.
“After resisting calls for an independent investigation, Malloy’s war on working families just intensified as his lawyer asked me to, for all intents and purposes, perp-walk my clients down to the Governor’s mansion and kiss his boss’ ring. McDonald knows that even a $250 an hour lawyer would never allow his clients to agree to that, especially in light of the political nature of this investigation,“ Rochlin replied. “This is politics as usual from the Malloy administration.”