With more Americans using food stamps a lot of media outlets have been asking where and how the money is being spent. But getting answers about where $80 billion a year is going isn’t easy.
It seems like a simple request: Where is our tax money being spent?
The Washington Times wants to know why the information is deemed top secret. Their attempts to get it were shot down.
Here at News 4, we have also been asking that question.
One year ago this week, News 4’s Chris Nagus asked the state of Missouri to provide a list of the top retailers where food stamps are used. He was denied.
In July, 2011, station attorneys filed an appeal that was forwarded to the USDA, the agency that administers the food stamp program. In August, News 4 was denied again, this time by the feds.
In September, 2011, the station filed an appeal, which is still pending.
Keep in mind these are tax dollars. The Washington Times says the denial of this type of information makes it difficult to track fraud.
Last year News 4 asked where TANF dollars – the cash portion of the welfare card - were being spent.
We discovered Missouri dollars were being spent in places like Las Vegas, Orlando and Hawaii.
We continue to ask where food stamp dollars are being spent, but have been denied because the feds see the information as proprietary. That means retailers believe releasing the information would give away trade secrets about where consumers shop and what they buy.