Implementing Rigorous Program Integrity Measures Remains a Top Priority
WASHINGTON, June 18, 2019 – Today, USDA Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Brandon Lipps issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Justice’s settlement with South Dakota based consultant Julie Osnes and her company, Julie Osnes Consulting, LLC, regarding allegations of advising states to falsify Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) quality control data:
“The Food and Nutrition Service will not tolerate fraud or abuse. We are responsible to the American public to be good stewards of their tax dollars. FNS has taken aggressive actions to resolve the issues raised in this investigation. In addition, throughout this investigation, FNS cooperated with the Department of Justice and USDA Office of Inspector General, providing information as requested to help bring this case to a close.
“After identifying concerns in 2014, FNS suspended its annual error rate reporting and embarked on a comprehensive review of quality control systems in all 50 states, D.C., Virgin Islands, and Guam. The agency developed new controls to prevent recurrence of these issues, and required states to take corrective actions to address all identified concerns. By enhancing the rigor of this process – through state reviews, policy clarifications, and additional training for state and federal staff – the agency was able to restore confidence in the process and resume reporting of SNAP error rates in June 2018.
“But where protection of taxpayer dollars is concerned, the job is never done. FNS has also announced its intent to propose additional changes in the coming months, aimed at further strengthening the SNAP quality control process by drawing upon lessons learned and stakeholder feedback. This includes reforms enacted by Congress in the 2018 Farm Bill.
“FNS is moving forward with enhanced integrity in the administration of SNAP. We are committed to working with our state partners to identify even better ways to strengthen SNAP and ensure proper stewardship of all our critical nutrition assistance programs, now and into the future.”
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