The Minnesota Sun’s 10 Most Popular Stories of 2019

The Minnesota Sun

The dominant conservative storylines of 2019 included the ongoing reports of fraud and corruption at Minnesota’s Department of Human Services, the scandals of Rep. Ilhan Omar, violence in the Twin Cities, and the radical policy proposals passed by the DFL-controlled Minnesota House.

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Gov. Walz Hires Consultant to Tell Another Consultant How to Conduct Review of DHS

Gov. Tim Walz announced Friday that his administration has started a formal process to look into breaking up Minnesota’s Department of Human Services, but Republicans criticized the Democratic governor’s plan for involving an excessive number of outside consultants.

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Email Appears to Show DHS Wanted to Cut Check to Child Care Center Connected to ‘Taliban Official’

Officials in Minnesota’s Department of Human Services (DHS) allegedly wanted to cut a new check to a child care center that had its bank account frozen by the Office of Foreign Asset Control because of the account owner’s association “with a Taliban official,” emails obtained by a state representative show.

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Commissioners Skip Minnesota Senate Hearing After Report Shows 1300 Contract Violations Across Agencies

State Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Vernon Center) said she was “very upset” with a pair of commissioners for skipping a Wednesday Senate Finance Committee hearing on contract violations in the Minnesota Department of Human Services and other state agencies.

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DHS Blasted for ‘Lack of Humanity’ in Asking Tribal Nations to Pay $29 Million for State’s Mistakes

Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles testified before a joint Senate committee hearing this week where he described the Minnesota Department of Human Services as “dysfunctional” and “fraught with problems,” and warned of “contentious litigation” between tribal nations and the state.

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Minnesota’s Department of Human Services Has Lost $300 Million in Three Years, State Senator Says

State Sen. Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake), chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, recently revealed that the Minnesota Department of Human Services has lost more than $300 million in the last three years, either “by error or fraud.”

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Minnesota House GOP Calls on Democrats to Hold Hearings on DHS During Upcoming ‘Mini-Session’

Minnesota House Republicans are calling on their Democratic colleagues to hold hearings on the ongoing turmoil at the Department of Human Services during an upcoming legislative “mini-session.”

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Walz Asks Senate Republicans to ‘Suspend’ Effort Seeking Information on Fraud in Government

Gov. Tim Walz has asked Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) to “suspend” a Senate Republican effort seeking information on “abusive or fraudulent behavior” in the state government.

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Walz Administration Sees Another Resignation

  Sarah Walker, Minnesota’s Department of Corrections (DOC) deputy commissioner, resigned Friday after just six months. She’s currently under investigation after someone filed a complaint against her. “We received complaints about Deputy Commissioner Walker and the investigation has not been completed,” Sarah Fitzgerald, a spokeswoman for Minnesota’s DOC said to…

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‘Six Million Meals’: DHS Chief Breaks Down How Much Care Illegal Migrants Receive

by Jason Hopkins   Acting Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan revealed exactly how much care illegal migrants receive upon arriving at the border, abolishing narratives set by Democratic critics of the department. “Despite the scale of the challenge we face, and the failure to enact legislation that would have prevented —…

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President Trump Puts Limit on Asylum Claims at Border

by Fred Lucas   While waiting for Congress to act on closing immigration loopholes, the Trump administration is imposing a new rule to limit asylum claims by requiring professed refugees to first seek asylum in another country closer to home. The Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security announced…

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Commissioner Tony Lourey Abruptly Resigns from ‘Dumpster Fire’ at Minnesota DHS

  Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Tony Lourey abruptly resigned Monday, making him the third top DHS official to step down in just a few short days. “I believe a new leader is necessary to best execute your vision for human services and continue the critical work of improving…

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Investigation Into Minnesota Inspector General Carolyn Ham Hasn’t Even Started Yet

  Minnesota Department of Human Services Inspector General Carolyn Ham was placed on “investigative leave” in March, but reporters learned Friday that the investigation into Ham’s conduct hasn’t even started yet. Ham, however, continues to be paid while she’s on leave and has earned $42,000 since her leave first began,…

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DHS Inspector General: Overcrowded Migrant Centers ‘A Ticking Time Bomb’

  A new report by the Homeland Security Inspector General describes appalling conditions and wretched overcrowding at migrant detention centers in Texas with a top manager at one of the facilities saying he fears for the security of his staff, calling the situation a “ticking time bomb.” The report released…

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DHS Expects Border Apprehensions to Decrease By 25%, Credits Trump’s Deal With Mexico

by Jason Hopkins   The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) expects apprehensions of illegal aliens to decline by 25% along the U.S. southern border in June and directly credited President Donald Trump’s immigration deal with Mexico for the change. “It’s become clear that over the past three weeks, since the…

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Report: Trump Insiders Want DHS Chief to Step Down

by Jason Hopkins   Several Trump administration officials and other immigration hawks outside the White House are pushing to remove Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan amid accusations of disloyalty, according to sources familiar with the matter. Immigration hardliners within President Donald Trump’s orbit want McAleenan ousted, according to several…

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Officials Accuse DHS Chief Kevin McAleenan of Personally Sabotaging President Trump’s Planned ICE Raids

by Jason Hopkins   Administration officials are accusing Homeland Security Acting Director Kevin McAleenan of sabotaging Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) deportation raids by leaking key details of the plan. President Donald Trump abruptly announced Saturday that he would delay plans for Sunday raids targeting around 2,000 illegal immigrants across the…

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Thousands of Alleged Asylum-Seekers Booted Out of US Under Trump’s ‘Remain In Mexico’ Policy

by Jason Hopkins   Thousands of Central American migrants have been sent back to Mexico after lodging an asylum claim, a result of President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” directive. Over 5,000 asylum seekers from Central America’s Northern Triangle region — El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala — have been sent…

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Minnesota Democrats Criticized for Not Taking Child Care Fraud ‘Seriously’ After Release of Second Report

A second report released last week by the non-partisan Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) found that the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ “program integrity controls are insufficient to effectively prevent, detect, and investigate fraud” in the state’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). In March, the OLA released its first…

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President Trump Accepts DHS Chief Kirstjen Nielsen’s Resignation, Names Kevin McAleenan as Replacement

by Chuck Ross   President Donald Trump announced Sunday that Kirstjen Nielsen is resigning as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, bringing an end to an at-times rocky relationship between the two. Trump said on Twitter that Kevin McAleenan, the current commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, will…

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Watchdog: US Agency Error Exposes 2.3 Million Disaster Survivors to Fraud

Reuters   The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) exposed 2.3 million disaster survivors to possible identity theft and fraud by sharing sensitive personal information with an outside company, according to an internal government watchdog. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) said FEMA had shared…

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Walz Administration Recommends ‘Sensitivity Training’ in Response to Child Care Fraud

Gov. Tim Walz wants staffers involved in Minnesota’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) to undergo “cultural sensitivity and implicit bias” training after a recent report confirmed widespread fraud in the program. As The Minnesota Sun has reported, the Office of the Legislative Auditor’s long-awaited report confirmed that millions of dollars…

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Minnesota DHS Inspector General Placed on ‘Investigative Leave’ After Release of Child Care Fraud Report

Department of Human Services Inspector General Carolyn Ham confirmed Monday that she was placed on “investigative leave” following the Office of the Legislative Auditor’s report on fraud in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). Ham is the only inspector general in Minnesota, and her office is housed under the Department…

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The Number of Illegals Caught at the Southwest Border Nearly Doubles, DHS Reports

by Jason Hopkins   Apprehensions of illegal migrants at the southwest border in January increased dramatically from the same time last year, and experts predict 2019 will experience increases in illegal migrant arrests overall. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) — a subset agency of the Department of Homeland…

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Omar, Tlaib and Progressive Allies Call for DHS Funding Cuts: ‘Not Another Dollar’

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) and three fellow congresswomen are urging their Democratic colleagues to cut funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) because of its alleged abuses on the southern border. Omar was joined by Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI-13), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-07) in issuing the…

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Republicans Call on Minnesota DHS to Hand Over Information About Child Care Fraud

Newly-appointed Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner Tony Lourey is facing pressure from Republican legislators over the department’s failure to respond to several data requests seeking information on the state’s alleged child care fraud. The fraud was first exposed in a May 2018 Fox 9 report, and has been…

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Despite Security Concerns, DHS Official Says No Signs of Successful Election Cybersecurity Attacks

by Gavin Hanson   An official from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reportedly said the department had not picked up on any indications of successful election cyberattacks as of early Wednesday morning. The 2018 midterm election came and passed without any official observations of hacking, according to the DHS, The Hill…

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Restaurant Manager Where Secretary Nielsen Was Mobbed ‘Happy About What Happened’

Security Nielsen Was Mobbed

by Julia Cohen   The Mexican restaurant where Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was swarmed by protesters Tuesday in Washington, D.C., took no action to quell the protesters or ensure Nielsen’s safety, a manager told The Daily Caller News Foundation on Wednesday. “We are not upset the protesters…

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