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Posted September 22, 2014in Iowa Watchdog

Ending special tax privileges could save families thousands

DES MOINES, Iowa — Jeremy Horpedahl knows most people find the tax code to be complicated, boring and hard to understand. He also knows the tax code is so complicated because it is boring and hard to understand. “Most people don’t have the time or interest to examine the issues.

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Posted September 12, 2014in Iowa Watchdog

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

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

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Posted September 12, 2014in Iowa Watchdog

Politics let student-visa abusers go unchecked

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Responding to Watchdog.org’s report that the U.S. has lost track of 58,000 foreign students holding expired visas, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley proposed legislation to tighten security. But, once again, partisan politics stand in the way. Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced the Student Visa Integrity Act to help reduce fraud and abuse

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Posted September 08, 2014in Iowa Watchdog

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

DES MOINES, Iowa — 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. According to a new report from the Office of State Auditor, Meyer billed the state on 30

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Posted September 02, 2014in Iowa Watchdog

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

DES MOINES, Iowa — 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. Because 85 people contacted the agency to report receiving extra unemployment benefits, IWD has claimed the computer

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Posted August 22, 2014in Iowa Watchdog

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

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Workforce Development may have trouble managing money, but at least its management understands the importance of politeness. In early March, the agency, which oversees unemployment claims in the state, issued unemployment benefits to 85 people who didn’t ask for them. According to a March 13 email sent

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Posted August 20, 2014in Iowa Watchdog

Drunk teacher wins unemployment benefits; gets to keep license

DES MOINES, Iowa — 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. Luckily for Pagel, he just showed up for work drunk and on OxyContin. For lighting up a breath test at three times

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Posted August 13, 2014in Iowa Watchdog

Give me shelter: Josue and other border kids go to court

OMAHA, Neb. — In an office building near Omaha’s airport, stern-faced, gray-haired Immigration Judge Jack Anderson presides over removal hearings Tuesday in a courtroom filled with juveniles, most of them from Central America, all of them hoping to be allowed to stay in the United States. Josue, 13, sits in the

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Posted August 12, 2014in Iowa Watchdog

In Iowa, stay away from stopping school buses or temporarily lose your license

DES MOINES, Iowa — Kayden’s Law seemed like a “no-brainer” when it was passed in 2012. Named for a 7-year-old girl who was killed in 2011 by a speeding motorist, the law imposed mandatory penalties for anyone not stopping at least 150 feet from a school bus when the bus’

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Posted August 11, 2014in Iowa Watchdog

No receipts, no problem: Consulting firm paid $200K for undocumented expenses

DES MOINES, Iowa — They say college is nothing like the real world. The state university system’s Board of Regents is proving that lack of realism isn’t confined to undergraduates. The board is paying over $200,000 in undocumented expenses to a consulting firm it hired to help it save money.

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