The USDA refuses to release to the public details of how food stamp benefits are being spent by the recipients. We’re paying for it, but they won’t tell us where our money is going. Several groups of journalists and government watchdogs are calling on Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak to open up the books.
The Daily Caller has the details:
In a letter to Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack, the organizations — which have a combined membership of more than 16,000, many of them journalists who cover health care, nutrition and the federal government — requested the USDA make public records pertaining to the use of SNAP dollars.
“The USDA has refused to reveal how much money individual retailers make from SNAP, arguing in FOIA denials and subsequent court documents that the law governing the program prohibits it. But we (and others) see nothing in the law barring such disclosures,” the letter reads. “And we believe this information is essential to an informed discussion of the Farm Bill reauthorization and the future of the SNAP program.”
“As the number of Americans receiving SNAP continues to increase, along with the federal taxpayer support of it, a greater level of transparency is more essential than ever,” it continued.
The organization heads who signed the letter were from the National Freedom of Information Coalition, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Association of Health Care Journalists, Investigative Reporters & Editors, the Association of Food Journalists, the National Association of Science Writers, and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. (Read More)
I won’t hold my breath waiting for the “most transparent administration ever” to be forthcoming with this information. Especially since they’ve expanded the food stamp rolls to a record level.