Yesterday Governor Lincoln Chafee announced that he commissioned a report that discovered waste and fraud in the state’s food stamp and Medicare programs. The report produced by Ken Block, the former Moderate Party gubernatorial candidate.
The governor refused to release the findings of Mr. Block’s report because according to his office’s press release, there has not been a criminal investigation and he did not want to jeopardize their ability to fully investigate it.
Governor Chafee’s refusal to release detailed information on the amount of fraud and waste existing in the two social programs has led to outrage amongst the Rhode Island media and citizen’s groups. NBC 10’s Bill Rappleye reported that the group Common Cause’s executive director John Marion believed that there was no legal reason for Mr. Chafee to withhold it from the public.
In response to the backlash, Governor Chafee’s office released a statement suggesting the reason why he refused to release the report yesterday. The release claimed that the findings were preliminary and that needed further study. It stated:
“A great deal of misconception has been generated over the past several days regarding the preliminary findings of the work done by Ken Block. This work was commissioned by my administration for internal use to find any instances of waste, fraud, abuse, or process failure that could be remedied to save taxpayer dollars. These findings are now being reviewed and are currently being turned over to various appropriate agencies for investigation and process corrections to save taxpayer dollars.”
The statement went on to pledge the governor’s commitment to transparency. Through his statement, Governor Chafee insisted that “I remain committed to transparency and if, at the appropriate time, a determination is made that publicly releasing the information will not jeopardize our ability to root out fraud and abuse, I will certainly do so.”
Today the governor's office announced that the governor would decide to tomorrow whether or no to release the report to the public.