Senator Rich Draheim’s Column on Government Oversight

Over the past few months Minnesota has received over $2.8 billion in COVID Relief money from the federal government and there’s been no transparency on how that money has been spent. It wasn’t until the Senate started asking questions that we finally uncovered how these funds are being spent.  Unfortunately, much of it was wasted or mismanaged.

The Senate uncovered some inconsistencies that included money being used to pay a radio station to broadcast the Governor’s press conferences. We should not be forking over taxpayer dollars to radio stations for coverage that they should be reporting on regardless; it’s their job.

The same can be said about the New York public relations firm that was used and paid for with money from the federal government. Why are we sending money to other states that have different issues than we do here at home in Minnesota? At the very least, they could’ve used a firm stationed in Minnesota that understands our state issues and not from a state on the other side of the country.

This waste and abuse could have been avoided though.  If the Legislature was given a role in spending money coming into the state, which is our job as described in the Constitution, the money would have had 201 more eyes on it and been spent more transparently.  How are we supposed to represent the people we were elected to serve when we are constantly being left out of the conversations all together? I want to serve those who elected me to the best of my ability and be able to help those who need it the most. Our Government was created to work for everyday Minnesotans, not vice versa.

The voice of the people is important in federal money, just as much as it is in state money. If we can increase transparency and work with the legislature there may be hope that this doesn’t continue in our states future.