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.
“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.