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Politics & Government

State Lawmakers Look to Reduce Fraud

Wisconsin's State Capitol
Ann Althouse, Flickr

State lawmakers have come up with a new way to weed out cases of waste, fraud and abuse. Legislation has been drafted that if passed would give people a financial award for alerting officials to areas where state funds are being wasted or misspent.

Whistleblowers would receive 5 percent of the money recovered, over a 12 year period.  Rep. Chad Weininger says right now, the Legislative Audit Bureau gets around 60 tips of waste, fraud and abuse each year. He says the number could be much higher if people were incentivized.

“Often times, if an individual knows about waste, fraud or abuse, they won’t report it to the state because there isn’t an incentive for them. The risk versus reward, there’s no reward for them to get involved,” Weininger says.

But Sarah Buschman of the Department of Children and Families says the state might not be able to pay out money saved from some programs. Buschman says the state may be prohibited for using federal dollars for rewards, which means some money could have to come from general appropriations.

“Much of the programs in DCF where recovery is made, we treat them as federal funds so one issue here is for us, there may be few state funds that are recovered in which to base a reward,” Buschman says.

Gov. Walker previously convened a waste, fraud and abuse commission. It found more than $450 million in savings for one year.