Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen issued the following statement in response to the State of Idaho Legislative Services Office’s audit released today, Aug. 21:
"The department welcomes the LSO audit review and the transparency it affords the public to understand the Idaho Community Partner grants and the support they provide Idaho families and children.
"While we agree with the many factual observations in the report that recognize the diligence and thoroughness of the department’s process, the department respectfully disagrees with all of the report’s findings.
"A judge recently threw out the case involving Attorney General Raul Labrador’s investigation into the administration of the grants due to his conflict of interest, unless the AG appoints a special prosecutor. AG Labrador’s office, through a legal opinion, validated that the funds were distributed legally, in compliance with both federal and state law, and he cannot sue his client for following the legal advice of his office. In a related case, the Idaho Supreme Court will hear on appeal a case that gets to the heart of whether AG Labrador has the legal authority at all to look into the matter.
"All along, we have welcomed independent, unbiased review of the department’s administration of the Community Partner grants. We will meet any review, audit, or investigation with cooperation because we stand by our work. We await the AG’s next step with confidence knowing the grants were distributed legally, as affirmed by his office. In addition, adequate controls were in place to ensure the grants went only to eligible purchases on behalf of eligible children.
"I am so grateful to the staff at DHW for working incredibly hard to create a successful, appropriate, accountable program that has positively impacted thousands of Idahoans, especially children. The grants are helping children across Idaho learn and stay safe, and we’re proud to be a part of it."
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at healthandwelfare.idaho.gov.