Posted in: Politics

Oklahoma Congressman Doesn’t Understand Food Stamp Fraud [Video]

Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) is taking a hard stance against food stamp fraud and waste… except the House Rep. seemed to be unclear on what actually constitutes food stamp fraud.

That didn’t stop Mullin from railing angrily against what he imagines to be food stamp fraud, and his ignorance of actual law and policy wasn’t about to get in the way of a good, imagination-based rant.

Mullin admits to nosing around the business of his constituents in public, with a trained eye on SNAP EBT card users. Voters in Mullin’s district might be interested to learn that he feels entitled to assess their food stamp worthiness based on the sneakers they may wear or the build of their bodies, and he recalls a harrowing experience in which he observed a likely entirely legal use of SNAP benefits, in public no less.

At a recent town hall meeting in Welch, Mullin explained his contempt for SNAP users and describes how a fellow customer in a store had the audacity to attempt to exchange food stamp benefits for food, in accordance with the program’s aims.

ThinkProgress quotes Mullin:

“So I’m in Crystal City and I’m buying my groceries … and I noticed everybody was giving that card. They had these huge baskets, and I realized it was the first of the month.”

Note one in seven Americans currently qualify for food stamps. Many poor families do stock up on the first of the month when benefits are refreshed, due to the fact humans require nutritional sustenance to live.

Mullin continues:

“But then I’m looking over, and there’s a couple beside me. This guy was built like a brick house. I mean he had muscles all over him. He was in a little tank top and pair of shorts and really nice Nike shoes. And she was standing there, and she was all in shape and she looked like she had just come from a fitness program. She was in the spandex, and you know, they were both physically fit. And they go up in front of me and they pay with that card.”

He concludes based on the fact the people using the card looked healthy that they were defrauding the system, explaining what he imagines to be a clear cut case of food stamp fraud:

“Fraud. Absolute 100% all it is is fraud…it’s all over the place. And there you go, to the fact that we shouldn’t be supporting those who won’t work. They’re spending their money someplace.”

Consistent review estimates food stamp fraud to account for a full one percent of SNAP spending, far less than the 100 percent Mullin fantasizes about.

Congressman Mullin might do well to review the very easy to parse and clear definition of food stamp fraud, no part of which includes owning Nikes (that could have been purchased before hard times hit) or appearing to be “in shape.”

According to the USDA, food stamp fraud is defined as such:

“SNAP fraud is when SNAP benefits are exchanged for cash…. SNAP fraud also happens when someone lies on their application to get benefits or to get more benefits than they are supposed to get… SNAP fraud also happens when a retailer has been disqualified from the program for past abuse and lies on the application to get in the program again.”

Watch above as Congressman Mullins’ angrily rails against imaginary food stamp fraud.

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Comments

46 Responses to “Oklahoma Congressman Doesn’t Understand Food Stamp Fraud [Video]”

  1. Steve Titus

    This is easy for me to understand. What he was getting at was that these people were fit enough to GO TO WORK but choose not to and live off the system. If the had money to go to the gym or spa, then they have money to buy their own food. DUH! Talk about a liberal slanted bullshit story!

  2. Christine Ranker

    In the first place, paying for groceries for a food stamp recipient is exactly what that card is for. And I resent the fact that you think food stamp recipients should have a special look, apparently sloppy dressers with beat up shoes. Is there fraud out there? Absolutely! Are they all guilty of fraud? No sir!

  3. Marla Hooper

    I'm not certain this has anything to do w/being a liberal or a conservative either one! The system is designed to be abused! Hated working a SECOND job at the grocery store only to see ppl buying steak and lobster w/food stamps while I was living on TV dinners! The entire system needs to be overhauled!

  4. Carol Dorsey Mangham

    You nor the ignorant rep from OK know whether or not these people work. Further, neither of you know if they go to a gym or spa. In other words, neither of you know ****

  5. Denise Kaye

    Fraud is at 1%? Yeah, on planet crypton maybe – where I live, food stamps are sold for 50 cents on the dollar to anyone who will buy them. Then they take the money to the casino or the local dope house – 1% my ass.

  6. Wayne Stover

    any one tarty kool-aidhat believes that percentage is drinking the democratic p

  7. Marla Hooper

    @ Carol – so ppl living off 'the system' have a right to eat better than I do working two jobs at 50+ yrs of age while they do nothing? I don't care whether they go to the gym or not! The point being is – Im working, paying TAXES, they're obviously NOT disabled – there's something wrong with this!

  8. Marla Hooper

    @ Carol – so ppl living off 'the system' have a right to eat better than I do working two jobs at 50+ yrs of age while they do nothing? I don't care whether they go to the gym or not! The point being is – Im working, paying TAXES, they're obviously NOT disabled – there's something wrong with this!

  9. Steve Titus

    Carol Dorsey Mangham They are on food stamps so it is pretty obvious they don't work. Do you even know the guidelines for food stamps? If you are single and make over $205.00/mo, you do not qualify for them. So I guess that makes you the ignoramous, huh? As for looking way they do? If you are fit, you can work. Why don't you take them into your house for three hots and a cot? I will bet they have a handicapped plate on their vehicle and run into the store too. These people love to play the system and thumb their noses at everyone else cause they know there will be blind bleeding heart tree huggers like yourself that will stick up for them. I've seen it a thousand times. Argue all you want. You know I'm right no matter what you blather out from this point

  10. Veronica A Hester

    I believe it's also called "Don't judge a book by it's cover." If the people had been in raggedy clothes and looked dirty, then he would have been hollering about how they need to clean up and get a job, or get off drugs, or any other excuse. These people could have been in a recent situation as well, needing emergency or temorary help, as the program is meant to do.

  11. John Przybylkowski

    I'm sorry what does a disabled person look like? And, why can only unfit people be on food stamps? How does anyone know if one of the people has a mental disability or if they do a lot of walking and exercising in their own home to stay fit? Stereotyping people that should have food stamps is stupid. Also, how does anyone know if the people had kids at home that were part of the program. Also how does anyone know if the people do work and they don't make enough to not be in the system. Why stereotype and automatically say that they are committing fraud for how they look.

  12. Tami Price

    I get food stamps and we are 100% honest about our income and we SAVE THAT REPORTED INCOME for extras that we need! Once a yr we buy GOOD shoes for our kids(they have them all yr) walmart shoes last a month or so making them MORE expensive than NIKES in the end it is ALL about how you save your money. We are well within the income limits for food stamps, we don't get the FULL AMT THOUGH! So, mr. Mullin and those like him, just because you see someone with nice SHOES(or whatever) pull out a food stamp card, think twice before you judge them!

  13. Wendy Lancaster

    Just because someone has a food stamp card doesn't mean they don't work! I know several single parents that work everyday but don't make that much money and they get help so they can eat! They also buy most of their clothes at thrift shops and find brand new clothes for a few dollars. You don't have to be dirty, fat, skinny or anything else to need a little help. Food stamps are not welfare payments. You can't pay rent or utility bills with them.

  14. Robin Reid Brolaski

    Your rant sir is an absolute joke. 1, in my state food stamps are given all during the month depending on your last name or social security #. 2, how do you know if they work or not? 3, I can buy 3 cheap pair of sneakers to equal out one good pair of shoes which I may or may not have bought before I fell on hard times. 4, the gyms around here cost between $10-$20/mth for a membership and you had no clue if they belonged to one or not. You can not judge a book by it's cover. There are so many explanations to their situation. I do not qualify for food stamps and I am not on any other public assistance. It took my husband 9 months to find a job that was 75% of the job he was laid off from and we still can't afford the company insurance. I've been looking for 18 months. Life is hard, sir.

  15. Brittany E. Butts

    You know what, Steve Titus? You're an idiot. I work part time, I am a full time student, I am a mother of three and I spent 13 years in the Navy. I need help right now, so I receive food stamps. I am a tax payer, and so are a LOT of food stamp benficieries. You are an asshat.

  16. Jeannie Barber

    Steve Titus except for the FACT that there are quite a few working people getting SNAP benefits because they don't get enough pay to buy food for their family! Do you KNOW that neither of those people worked? Do you KNOW they spent money at a gym or spa? no, you don't. Don't judge till you've walked a mile in their shoes… and I hope you never have to. Unfortunately statistics show it's likely you will have to access SNAP benefits sometime in your life.

  17. Lucinda Graniel

    Jerk! Has he ever been hungry! People DO NOT CHOOSE to be hungry! Try getting food stamps people. It is not easy! So they once had a job and now they don't. What is so strange about that? How many people do you know, are out of work right now. Maybe they are foster parents. Maybe the are running a group home and get help! Judge not or you will be judged!

  18. Elizabeth Hill

    Fraud is a Congressman having month vacation, exempt from medical coverage offered to most American's under OBAMACARE, Saying they represent their People, Not showing up for votes that COUNT. and NOT DOING the JOB They are getting paid to do… Fraud is audacity to stereotype people based on snapshot observation… Fraud is what we have in Wash. D.C…..Dignity- is people who WANT to work, be self sufficient, but for NO FAULT of their own, Have NO JOB– or have been downsized into POVERTY- BASIC essentials, and LOW self esteem…. He's the FRAUD- and many of the Others supposedly representing Born IN AMERICA PEOPLE!

  19. Elizabeth Hill

    Let me correct some on this sight- Our son has been covered with state Med ins. for 14 yrs- we are not wealthy, but never asked for 'the system'. Recently, with reapplication for ins., we were thrown into the system, and 'given' food stamps based on our income- husband was downsized last fall- seasonal rehire, etc, partial unemployment 1st time in over 30 yrs. We are mid aged. I went back to school in 08-full time 2 bach. degrees, and a MA in Human Service- I go to interviews, I apply- have 7 resumes… for 16 months, not 1 offer- not even minimum wage positions due to student loan debt tearing down a 'credit rating' and no employment record since 08- duh- why did I go back to school? to better myself- and here I sit with food stamps…….I didn't apply for, but qualify- so I use….paid in for over 30 years- never collected unemployment ever….always worked… Now… what's a family to do. Now we had to purchase health insurance or pay a fine… to IRS- US…. how can people who make min wage survive? This country is in a mess….and Bankrupt at that…printing money with NOTHING to back it up- no gold, no silver- just paper & Ink…

  20. Rebecca Faulk

    oh wow i get where you are coming from i am on disability for a good reason and i barely make $8,000 a year and people are always asking how we make it my hubby has a degree in business management and cannot get a job here in Texas it so totally sucks,but look at it like this like you said you paid in for over 30 years and now you are getting what is actually due to you.

  21. Jessie Radford

    I'm not saying everyone isn't milking the system. But God help me I am sick and tired the looks people endure, just because they have to use that card to put food on their table for their family. What gives any of you the right to judge them? The people that really need it? You don't know how they live, what money they may or may not have. Just because they look nice or dress nice. Who doesn't try to look presentable when going out to the store? That pair of nikes? maybe that was a gift. God help society these days and your damn judgemental ways making everyone else feel worthless.

  22. Steve Titus

    Rant all you want you Obama ass kissing libtards. The guidelines for foodstamps are available online and are easy to find but you lazy asses are so used to having someone else do the work for you that you don't even bother. To the lady that spent 13 years in the Navy. Thank you for your service and I'm sure you do need help and I have no problem with you being on them. But the rest of you? LAZY wanting a handout from the taxpayers. You think that this money grows on trees? Not hardly. For every dollar you receive, someone else (me) had to pay it in. You can call me all the names you want, don't care coming from a bunch of freeloaders like yourselves, I'm not bothered in the least. Get a job and support yourselves and leave our tax dollars for more worthwhile endeavours.

  23. Joan Wilcox

    I was on food stamps when my kids were small, I worked, I was fit not because I went to a fitness center or spa but I hiked the mountain and had an exercise program that I did in my living room, I also dressed well as I had 4 dresses and 3 pairs of slacks, 5 shirts, with those one of each in black, blue, red, and white with different accessories you can get many outfits, and be well dressed on a dime or so. when in financial difficulty you can look good which helps the image to get a better job and get off food stamps

  24. Denise McQuillen

    It's not just shoes they are looking at it's the pretty nails, the bluetooth or more expensive cell phones, it's the beer they buy on the atm cash card and other things.

  25. Marjorie Nye

    Denise McQuillen Stop making up s*it. This is from the USDA Website:

    Eligible Food Items:

    Foods for the household to eat, such as:
    — breads and cereals;
    — fruits and vegetables;
    — meats, fish and poultry; and
    — dairy products.

    Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat.

    In some areas, restaurants can be authorized to accept SNAP benefits from qualified homeless, elderly, or disabled people in exchange for low-cost meals.

    Households CANNOT use SNAP benefits to buy:

    Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco;

    Any nonfood items, such as:

    — pet foods;
    — soaps, paper products; and
    — household supplies.

    Vitamins and medicines.

    Food that will be eaten in the store.

    Hot foods.

  26. Marjorie Nye

    The Congressman is the fraud. He's supposed to represent "We, the People", he's in a position to vote on whether or not people receive SNAP benefits and how much, but did he bother to ASK those people he was so quick to assume were abusing the system? NO! His failure to communicate was an opportunity for his imagination to fill in the blanks with tired tropes of welfare fraud.
    It is evident that the Congressman knows nothing about the program upon which he is casting aspersions. Surprise! The SNAP program has a work rule that means people must be actively looking for work. Of course, the fact that there are no jobs and 11 million people are looking for work makes no difference to Mr. Mullin. That said, 40% of people receiving SNAP ARE employed but make so little that they qualify for benefits.
    Furthermore, having grown up in Northern Virginia and having worked at NavMed in Crystal City, I know that there's a huge number of military in the area. Perhaps the "fit" couple were some of the military that because of their low pay are responsible for $100 million dollars worth of food stamp purchases. No doubt, the Congressman cheers and waves flags and speaks ever so passionately about military sacrifice, but he's among the members of the House of Representatives that called for cutting 20 million from the food stamp program. He does NOT serve the PEOPLE he only serves those prejudiced, know-nothing people that would re-elect him.

  27. Elizabeth Lindsey

    Review this years farm bill see how much welfare money is going to wealthy agribusiness' and for farmers insurance and to NOT grow food. This farm bill put's an end to food stamps. Go hungry you once middle class filthy people, only the really well off deserve your tax money!

  28. John Przybylkowski

    Dude stop making assumptions that everyone is lazy and a liberal. Many people were telling you the facts and they did look them up. Get a grip on reality and get your head out of your ass. Just because people don't agree with you doesn't make them liberals and lazy. Also, there are many people on here who are working and still need help by getting food stamps so they are paying into the system and have paid into the system that you feel they haven't paid into.

  29. Tami Price

    Denise McQuillen If I have money left over cause I save for something nice a bill was lower than expected,then that is what I do sometimes,I signed a contract and got my phone for VERY CHEAP the ones before that my husband found cheap ones online or got broken and fixed,I JUST RECENTLY(last yr because of a settlement) GOT an Iphone 4 we don't have home phone,we traded in our old ALTEL phones to get credit towards a phone and yes that was reported. As a matter of fact our worker helped us figure out how to correctly report these things so,she saw EVERYTHING! We believe in total honesty so we can continue to be blessed as well as be a blessing! I am fully aware that people lie about their income,but not all who have these things are frauding the gov't. By the way my worker knows about me POSSIBLY getting back pay and disability hopefully SOON! I am a wiz at finding cheap clothes too(it's all part of the BLESSING)!

  30. Nancy Feist

    My mom used to work in the welfare system as basically an intake clerk. When people got all "did you see their shoes, their cell phones, their baby phat this or that" she was quick to point out that you don't know WHEN they started on food stamps, you don't know if they just lost a job, or if those items were borrowed, or maybe even a gift from someone. Or hell, maybe they bought them, maybe they found a good deal, maybe they're knock offs. Cell phones ARE a necessity if you're someone who's moving every few months, couch surfing, or otherwise at risk for being homeless. As far as the "fit" people, well, you can actually eat okay on a food stamp budget if you eat healthier food items as opposed to processed foods.

  31. Nancy Feist

    Elizabeth, I have an aunt who is in a shockingly similar position to yours. Through no fault of her own, the economy went south, so the auto parts factory she worked at closed. GM got a bailout, she got her tuition covered for a few years at community college. She busts her but as someone in her 50's going back to school. However, because she's "unemployed," she's not allowed to do an internship, because that's considered "work," even though you don't get paid (I don't get it either). All the people who did internships got jobs, she did not. Now she's cleaning a factory at some company that campaigned against Obamacare, meanwhile she found out she's got a brain tumor and was praying it didn't grow too fast so she could get on her company's health insurance before they found out and fired her. If she gets fired, she has to wait another year to get on the state health care system. This company counted the day she had a seizure and had a doctor's note as an "unexcused absence." She's not on foodstamps now, but it certainly could be soon, and like you, where exactly did she "slack off" or "deserve" what happened to her? NONE of it is/was her fault. SHE didn't screw up the economy, SHE didn't get a bailout, and she isn't even asking for much.

  32. Nancy Feist

    Denise McQuillen ; try, just try getting a non-smart phone these days. There are like two of them at the store. A little extra money gets you a smartphone, and that can be VERY useful if you are transient/in a transitional time in your life. You just try applying for a job in person with a paper application. I dare ya.

  33. Nancy Feist

    Yeah, that getting paid to NOT grow food is a racket, and it needs to end. You want to talk welfare? Lots of upper end homeowners benefit handsomely from this, and they were NEVER going to grow food. Talk about a handout at the taxpayer's expense!

  34. Victor Torres

    Am a single mother of 3 I work I pay my bills n maintain my kids yes I have foodstamp because my budget is not enough but thanxs to foodstamp I could sometime afford something nice for my kids or myself does that means am doing fraud I don't thnks so

  35. Steve Titus

    Where did I say "everyone" you assbag? You libturds see this and feel we are talking directly to you. Well hey, if the shoe fits………………….So, by your sick, twisted analogy, you are "entitled" to get back what you paid in? OKAY. I want EVERYTHING I ever paid into the system. Social security, Medicare, Federal and State taxes, sales taxes, excise taxes, Hunting license, Drivers Licence, Concealed carry license, fuel taxes, and on and on. Shit, if I invest all of that money, I could easily live off the interest. Hey! there's a novel idea! Also, you are the one here making "assumptions" by thinking I was talking about "everyone on public assistance. You are so dead wrong. Welfare and Foodstamps were meant to be short term help, NOT A CAREER!

  36. Kim LaCapria

    Rebecca Faulk I think people don't take that into account. Unemployment is still high, there is not a job for everyone :( And if you make Walmart or McD's wages … you qualify for food stamps. That's the why of it all. Most food stamp recipients work, probably more than most people.

  37. Kim LaCapria

    It is such a sad state of affairs when we have a US HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE displeased Americans look healthy. How much hate do you have to have in your heart to WANT people to look sick and diseased or hungry? In AMERICA? How illogical do you have to be to not understand that when we have 7% unemployment, 7 of every 100 eligible workers have no job to go to?

    And these people have the nerve to call themselves patriots. The America I grew up in didn't celebrate suffering or poverty. We had a strong working middle class. It saddens me.