Paul Brennan reports on politics and public policy for Iowa Watchdog. Before joining in December, 2013, Paul wrote for numerous publications from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles (and many places in between), covering a wide range of topics, from skateparks to cloning. Paul lives in Des Moines.

Feds have no idea the extent of SNAP fraud, says Iowa official

By   /  September 11, 2014  /  Iowa, News  /  No Comments

image courtesy of FNS

By Paul Brennan | Iowa Watchdog
DES MOINES, Iowa — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is sure the U.S. Department of Agriculture is doing a great job fighting fraud committed by people receiving benefits in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Wendy Dishman disagrees.
Dishman is the administrator of the Investigative Division of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, [...]

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Audit finds $355,000 in improper billing in Iowa public defender office

By   /  September 5, 2014  /  Iowa, News  /  No Comments

Photo courtesy of

If all the claims for payment Jennifer Meyer submitted while working for the Office of the State Public Defender are accurate, then she’s the hardest working attorney in Iowa.

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‘It’s not fraud if the agency does it:’ Iowa officials explain unemployment overpayments

By   /  August 29, 2014  /  Iowa, News, Unemployment Fraud  /  No Comments

AP file photo

The only reason Iowa Workforce Development hasn’t been telling the truth about the extra unemployment benefits it paid out in March is because it believes in the honesty of Iowans.

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Iowa agency issues extra unemployment checks; tries to keep it quiet

By   /  August 22, 2014  /  Iowa, News  /  No Comments

AP file photo

Iowa Workforce Development may have trouble managing money, but at least its management understands the importance of politeness.

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Drunk teacher wins unemployment benefits; gets to keep license

By   /  August 20, 2014  /  Iowa, News  /  No Comments

photo courtesy of the city of Grimes

If Dennis Pagel had taken a box of school supplies while working as a teacher at Dallas-Center Grimes Middle School, he could have gotten in serious trouble.

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850 days of ‘the grossest incompetence:’ How the IRS botched a case of identity theft

By   /  August 14, 2014  /  Identity Fraud, Iowa, IRS, News  /  No Comments

850 DAYS: That's how long it took accountant Jason Dinesen to resolve a client's problems with the IRS after the client's late husband's identity was stolen.

Jason Dinesen smiled politely and shook his head when asked about a new bill in the U.S. Senate that aims to improve how the IRS handles cases of identity theft by assigning one agent to deal with each invididual case.

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