Citing a new federal study, Governor Ed Rendell argues reports of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s (DPW) waste are greatly exaggerated.
Auditor General Jack Wagner, a Democrat, has issued report after report criticizing DPW’s error rates.
Republican lawmakers have latched onto the findings, saying eliminating wasted and misappropriated payments could save hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
Rendell says a new report from a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is proof the nay-sayers are wrong.
The study found the welfare department's error rate is a bit more than four percent, which is less than half of the national average.
"The rhetoric that goes on in this building doesn’t match the facts. And the facts are given to us by the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration. And it’s just rhetoric because this is a convenient whipping boy. And nobody in this building, when it comes to DPW, cares about the facts or cares about the truth."
Rendell says its figures are legitimate.
"Politicians – and it doesn’t matter to me anymore – but politicians should stop demonizing the Department of Public Welfare. It’s done a great job. It’s staffed by professionals at every level - most of whom were here before I became governor, and most of whom will continue to be here after I’m no longer governor."
The Auditor General’s office has said the error rate is as high as 15 percent. They haven’t responded to a call for comment on the discrepancy.