Nelson amendment would protect taxpayer dollars used for state grants

Senator Carla Nelson
2 min readApr 8, 2024

Minnesota State Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) on Monday offered an amendment to the Senate’s Jobs and Economic Development Policy bill aimed at protecting taxpayer dollars used for state grants.

The Nelson amendment would have required the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) along with the Office of Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) to determine the effectiveness of new programs or grants of $500,000 or more and report to the legislature regarding how the grant money is spent.

“We must do everything we can to prevent Minnesota taxpayer dollars from being used fraudulently,” Senator Nelson said. “That was the sole intent of my amendment. Minnesotans are rightfully concerned about fraud, given our troubling recent history: from Childcare Assistance Program fraud to Feeding Our Future, the scams seem to be getting more pervasive. We need to make sure it does not happen again. This is a good government solution to protect Minnesota taxpayers. I was hopeful we could get bipartisan agreement, given that we agreed on similar language last year in the health and human services bill. I will continue fighting to protect taxpayer dollars.”

The Nelson amendment was modeled after similar language successfully included in last year’s Health and Human Services bill intended to protect tax dollars within that area of government.

In recent years, Minnesota has been the victim of a stunning number of taxpayer scams, most notably the $250 million Feeding Our Future fraud scheme. In a 2022 report, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners listed Feeding Our Future as one of its five worst fraud cases. Other fraud cases include $9.5 million in Medicaid fraud; multiple paycheck protection program fraud schemes; and widespread Childcare Assistance fraud.

Senator Nelson’s amendment was rejected by Senate Democrats on a party-line vote of 33–34.