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NEW: Senators Pitch Inspector General to combat state waste/fraud

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


In light of the recent controversy, five state Senators say Rhode Island needs dedicated official to combat fraud and waste in state government.

One day after Governor Lincoln Chafee found himself embroiled in controversy for refusing to release a report by Ken Block that reportedly documents causes of fraud and waste in the state’s governmental agencies, Senator James Sheehan (D-Dist. 36) is calling for the state to install a dedicated official to oversee that very issue in Rhode Island.

Citing similar offices in New York, Louisiana and Massachusetts as examples, Sheehan is pitching the idea of an Inspector General’s office in the Ocean State in an effort to help prevent and detect waste mismanagement, abuse, fraud and corruption in government.

 “In light of an independent report recently presented to the governor that claims to have found waste in the state’s Medicaid system, I believe it would be sound policy to establish an Office of Inspector General in Rhode Island,” Sheehan said. “We need to make sure that the state is spending taxpayer money wisely and appropriately and we should not be dependent on private, outside reports to find out if there are problems.”

Sheehan’s legislation, S 0612, would establish the office of an Inspector General as an independent administrative agency, “with the purpose of preventing and detecting fraud, waste, abuse or mismanagement in the expenditure of public funds.”

 “I did not propose this legislation because I am assuming fraud or mismanagement in Rhode Island government,” Sheehan said. “Then again, I am not assuming that there are no problems. What I hope to accomplish through enactment of this bill and establishment of this office is that the expenditure of public funds is conducted in an open, aboveboard and fully transparent fashion. Our residents have a right to know how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent and, further, to know that someone is watching to make sure there is no abuse or fraud.”

Sheehan’s bill has four co-sponsors in Senators Lonidas Raptakis, Marc Cote, Catherine Cool Rumsey and Nicholas Kettle and is currently before the Senator Committee on Finance.


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