Shutdown? NM seems OK on the state level, but federal workers will feel the pinch

By Rob Nikolewski on September 30, 2013

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
SANTA FE – The good news about a possible government shutdown? It won’t affect the vast majority of people in New Mexico, even most state employees.
The bad news? Since the state’s economy is so heavily reliant on federal dollars, a shutdown centered in Washington, D.C., will have more financial [...]

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EBT cards at strip clubs, liquor stores and casinos? It’s still OK here in NM UPDATE: ‘We ran out of time,’ Sanchez says

By Rob Nikolewski on March 21, 2013

A bill aimed at curbing abuse of Electronic Benefit Transfer cards sailed through the state House of Representatives and two Senate committees but was never heard on the Senate floor in the just-completed 60-day legislative session.
And that could mean a loss of an estimated $5.5 million in Temporary Assistance for Needy Familes (TANF) funding for [...]

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EBT reform bill breezes through the House; Gov approves

By Rob Nikolewski on February 6, 2013

The state is a little bit closer to getting its electronic benefits transaction (EBT) debit card usage in sync with the federal government.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved a bill sponsored by Rep. Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, on a 63-0 vote and shortly after the vote was tallied, Gov. Susana Martinez’s office e-mailed New Mexico [...]

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No more strip clubs! State taking modest step to curb EBT abuse

By Rob Nikolewski on February 2, 2013

Roundhouse legislators took a step Friday (Feb. 1) to rein in abuse of electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards that Jim Scarantino of New Mexico Watchdog highlighted in recent months.
In his series of Watchdog reports, Scarantino pored over documents showing the EBT cards — which are supposed to be used for life’s essentials to help needy [...]

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EBT Abuse Continued In 2012

By Jim Scarantino on December 18, 2012

Welfare money tapped in an Albuquerque strip club.  Cash withdrawals of welfare funds inside an El Paso casino, a movie theater, a nightclub, Hooters, smoke shops and liquor stores around the country.
The same suspicious transactions on EBT cards we observed at the end of 2011 continued into 2012.  You can read our first two reports [...]

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NM Can’t Do Much About Abuse of EBT Cash, Tackles Other Issues

By Jim Scarantino on December 7, 2012

EBT cards intended to help needy  families have bought vacation cruises out of Miami and illegal drugs in Spokane, Washington.  They’ve been used to gain entrance to Graceland, Disneyland, and Universal Studios, and many far less family-friendly establishments.
In Boston, a jailed heroin dealer instructed a friend to tap EBT cash for bail money.
An unlicensed tattoo artist in Minnesota accepts [...]

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New Mexico EBT Funds Used In Liquor Stores, Casinos, Smoke Shops, and Hooters

By Jim Scarantino on November 28, 2012

Booze, blackjack, butts and babes.
New Mexico welfare funds turned up in surprising places in a two month period of EBT card transactions examined by New Mexico Watchdog.
The money is supposed to be used for life’s essentials to help needy New Mexico families with children.  A prior report showed transactions on New Mexico-issued EBT cards in [...]

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NM Welfare Funds Spent Far Beyond State’s Borders

By Jim Scarantino on November 16, 2012

From bustling Miami to sleepy Goffstown, New Hampshire, from San Diego to Minneapolis, recipients of New Mexico’s welfare funds use their state-issued EBT cards every day to spend money far from the Land of Enchantment.  In a two month period examined by New Mexico Watchdog expenditures of the state’s welfare funds occurred in 45 states.
The [...]

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