State Government Scandal Tracker
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Month/
Year
Type of scandalScandal seriesWaste/Fraud/
Abuse of tax $$$
State agency involvedDescriptionLink
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Sep-13Data breachMNsureMN.IT, MNsureData breach at MNsure exposes personal information and Social Security numbers of 2,400 Minnesotans
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Oct-13IT failureMNsureMN.IT, MNsureMNsure health exchange debuts with major technical problems including site crashes and hours-long wait times
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Dec-13MismanagementMNsureMN.IT, MNsureMNsure's executive director resigns after being criticized for taking a two-week vacation to Costa Rica while MNsure was in shambles
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Jan-14Cronyism/corruptionYesAudit finds Gov. Dayton's office concealed payments to future Supreme Court appointee David Lillehaug despite public statements the work was pro bono
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Apr-14MismanagementMNLARSMN.IT, Dept. of Public SafetyAudit finds "culture of distrust" at state agency managing vehicle license and registration system overhaul (a.k.a. MNLARS).
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Aug-14IT failureOffice of Higher EducationData breach at Office of Higher Education exposes personal information of 1,300 student loan applicants
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Feb-15MismanagementMNsureMN.IT, MNsureLegislative audit finds officials knew about MNsure's issues before launch; and its "failures outweighed its achievements"
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Mar-15Cronyism/corruptionYesIRRRBIron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) criticized for giving DFL fundraising call center a $250,000 loan that was never paid back
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Aug-15Data breachDept. of Corrections, Dept. of Public SafetyTwo data breaches at Department of Corrections and Department of Public Safety expose personal information of 7,000 Minnesotans
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Sep-15Cronyism/corruptionYesMnDOTReport finds bus companies owned by Transportation Commissioner Charles Zelle received 98% of state subsidies for rural bus routes in 2013
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Jan-16MismanagementMNsureYesMN.IT, MNsure, DHSLegislative audit finds up to $271 million tax dollars wasted on MNsure subsidies to people ineligible for the aid
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Mar-16MismanagementYesIRRRBLegislative audit finds IRRRB-owned resort is subsidized by millions of tax dollars each year despite exploding losses of +535% over 9 years
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Feb-17IT failureMNsure, METSYesDHSDHS-commissioned audit finds 17% error rate in its Medical Assistance eligibility software system (METS)
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Feb-17Cronyism/corruptionYesMinnesota Sports Facilities AuthorityTwo officials resign after report reveals MN Sports Facilities Authority used taxpayer subsidized Vikings suites to wine and dine friends, DFL politicians
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May-17MismanagementYesDHSCEO of non-profit Community Action of Minneapolis sentenced to 4 years in prison for stealing $800,000 in state aid for low-income heating assistance
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Jul-17MismanagementChild care assistance fraudYesDHSFraud ring posing as personal care attendants in Hennepin County charged with stealing $7.7 million in aid for the disabled
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Jul-17IT failureMNLARSMN.IT, Dept. of Public SafetyMNLARS system debuts with major issues leading to months-long delays for some transactions
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Dec-17MismanagementElder abuseDept. of HealthDepartment of Health (MDH) employees say abuse allegations from elder care facilities were thrown in the trash
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Feb-18MismanagementMNLARSMN.IT, Dept. of Public SafetyMinnesota IT Services (MNIT) employee's secret recordings reveal Gov. Dayton's office was warned of MNLARS disaster two years before its launch
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Mar-18MismanagementElder abuseDept. of HealthLegislative audit finds backlog of elder abuse allegations rooted in "poor management," toxic culture at state agency
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Mar-18MismanagementMNLARSYesMN.IT, Dept. of Public SafetyMNIT chief fired after audit finds he knew about MNLARS defects before its rollout, then paid $45,000 not to sue for wrongful termination
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Apr-18MismanagementYesDHSDHS fails to send bills to MinnesotaCare enrollees, refuses to attempt to collect $30 million in unpaid premiums
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May-18MismanagementChild care assistance fraudYesDHSInvestigation uncovers potentially hundreds of millions worth of fraud in child care assistance program
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Sep-18Data breachDHSThree data breaches over 6 months at DHS expose personal information of 34,000 Minnesotans, including Social Security numbers of 24,000
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Oct-18MismanagementChild care assistance fraudYesDHSDHS Inspector General spends $90,000 to hire outside firm to investigate her own employees
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Feb-19MismanagementMNLARSMN.IT, Dept. of Public SafetyLegislative audit finds MNLARS failure was due to state agency leaders' lack of oversight
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Mar-19MismanagementChild care assistance fraudYesDHSLegislative audit finds "pervasive" fraud in child care assistance program
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Mar-19MismanagementChild care assistance fraudDHSDHS Inspector General placed on investigative leave after audit finds “significant distrust” between staff and management
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Mar-19Cronyism/corruptionYesIRRRBIRRRB tailors a six-figure job for a losing DFL congressional candidate who later resigns when the back-door deal becomes public
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May-19MismanagementMNLARSYesMN.IT, Dept. of Public SafetyReport recommends scrapping MNLARS system altogether after $100 million wasted over 9 years of development
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May-19MismanagementYesDHSFederal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services orders DHS to pay back $48 million in funds improperly paid to providers
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Jun-19Cronyism/corruptionYesIRRRBIRRRB official who accepted $166,000 in early retirement buyout is hired back a month later
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Jul-19MismanagementChild care assistance fraudYesDHSDHS Inspector General paid $42,000 over three months while waiting for investigation to begin
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Jul-19Cronyism/corruptionDHSDHS compliance worker claims management retaliated against her for reporting serious legal problems with state contracts
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Jul-19MismanagementDHSSeveral top leaders at DHS resign without explanation, including the commissioner
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Jul-19Cronyism/corruptionYesDept. of CorrectionsDeputy commissioner of Corrections resigns during investigation into complaints she misused her position to secure state grants for husband's non-profit
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Aug-19MismanagementYesDHSDHS admits to overpaying Indian tribes $29 million in Medicaid which must be repaid to federal government
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Aug-19Data breachMet CouncilData breach at Met Council exposes personal information of 15,200 Metro Mobility customers
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Sep-19Cronyism/corruptionDFL legislator resigns from UMN after internal emails reveal preferential treatment in hiring process for job created to 'debunk' research by 'right wing think tank'
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Sep-19MismanagementYesDHSDHS reveals MinnesotaCare enrollees were overbilled $1.8 million and must be refunded, citing issues with automatic payment system
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Oct-19MismanagementYesDHSFederal audit finds DHS spent at least $3.7M on Medicaid coverage for dead people from 2014-2016
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Oct-19MismanagementElder abuseDHSFederal watchdog agency finds DHS has gotten worse at investigating the most serious elder abuse allegations, missing the federal deadline 60% of the time
http://www.startribune.com/minnesota-health-regulators-often-fail-to-respond-rapidly-to-nursing-home-abuse-complaints/563662432/?refresh=true
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Oct-19MismanagementYesDHSLegislative audit finds "troubling dysfunction" and lack of responsibility at DHS led to years of overpayments to tribeshttps://www.auditor.leg.state.mn.us/sreview/dhsover.pdf
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Oct-19IT failureYesDHSInvestigation finds $600 million MnChoices disability assistance software crashes regularly, has 32% eligibilty error rate, and costs 10 times more than expectedhttp://m.startribune.com/disparities-dog-system-to-distribute-disability-services/563636552/
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Nov-19MismanagementYesDHSPublic records reveal state agencies habitually break state contract and spending laws, with over 1,800 violations reported in one yearhttps://www.twincities.com/2019/11/13/mn-dhs-violated-state-law-but-so-did-nearly-every-other-state-agency/
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Nov-19MismanagementYesDHSDHS reveals $22 million more in improper spending that must be repaid to the federal government; $13 million of which accrued after the error was reportedhttp://www.startribune.com/financial-woes-mount-at-minnesota-dhs-as-costly-mistakes-now-hit-counties/565109972/
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Nov-19MismanagementYesDHSDHS illegally instructed counties and Indian tribes to claw back $727,000 in overpayments to poor people, which must now be returnedsame as above
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Nov-19MismanagementYesDHSDHS's failure to issue timely guidance led to $624,000 in improper county payments to foster homes that didn't meet federal background check requirementssame as above
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Dec-19Cronyism/corruptionYesDHSSenior DHS official approved over $1 million in payments for non-profit while serving on its board, using tax dollars to double the group's revenue despite conflict of interest
http://www.startribune.com/minnesota-dhs-official-served-on-nonprofit-s-board-while-approving-public-payments/566257322/
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Dec-19MismanagementYesDHSDHS spent $10,000 taxpayer dollars per year on dues to be a member of a nonprofit organization that lobbies state government on health insurance issuessame as above
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Jan-20Cronyism/corruptionNoDHSInternal DHS audit finds a 200% increase in state law violations in the behavioral health division, and “several conflicts of interest" between DHS staff and vendors
http://www.startribune.com/audit-finds-weak-internal-controls-at-minnesota-department-of-human-services/567171062/
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Jan-20MismanagementNoDept. of CorrectionsPublic records were illegally deleted by the Department of Corrections during a five-month delay in fulfilling MinnPost's data practices request
https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2020/01/how-a-single-legislative-hearing-in-minnesota-managed-to-cost-20000/
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Jan-20MismanagementYesDept. of CorrectionsInvestigation reveals a House of Representatives committee hearing at Stillwater prison cost taxpayers $20,000 and was a ‘significant disruption’ for the facility"
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