❝ Five state employees testified in federal court Thursday that New Mexico Human Services Department officials falsified income information on emergency applications for people seeking welfare benefits, resulting in wrongly denied food assistance to the poorest citizens in the state.
❝ At a daylong hearing in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Carmen Garza that stretched into the evening, the state workers said they sometimes entered false asset information on emergency requests for food assistance as a part of a state policy created just as Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration came under federal scrutiny for its high rates of denying emergency requests for aid.
❝ The New Mexico Human Services Department is required to fulfill emergency food requests within seven days of receiving an application for such assistance. Yet the employees, testifying under oath, said they sometimes altered the requests to reflect that those applying for the assistance had up to $400 in assets that did not exist, leading to the applications being denied or delayed…
❝ Margaret Vasquez-Padilla, a family assistance analyst with the Human Services Department who processes applications for benefits, said her superiors changed her case notes on an application for emergency food assistance by putting down that the applicant had $400.
“This has happened before,” she said when asked why she had copied her original case notes. “I needed to keep copies for myself to make sure I was not implicated.”
She and other employees said management with the department’s Income Support Division pressured them in April 2015 to make sure the state’s data on emergency food requests did not reflect that the department was failing to fulfill the requests within seven days.
The employees called themselves whistleblowers, saying they fear retaliation for speaking out about the practice.
Governor Susana Martinez is the delight of Establishment Republicans who want to run her as Vice-Presidential candidate alongside the Trumpet. Presumably to prove the GOP doesn’t wage war on Hispanics, women, who make up a significant portion of New Mexico’s poor.
In practice, her War on the Poor is all-inclusive. Republican class warfare doesn’t need much specialization. Political opportunism just naturally lends itself to discrimination.