State Rep. Jason Perillo (R-113) sent a letter to Connecticut Department of Social Services Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford last week demanding action to avoid situations where third-party vendors to the state fail to provide data to state auditors.

Perillo sent the letter after reading the 2019 annual report from the Connecticut Auditors of Public Accounts that the auditors were denied access to vendor-controlled data during their audit of the SNAP (formerly, food stamp) program. The Auditors of Public Accounts were looking into payment accuracy and program eligibility for SNAP benefits.

In the letter, Perillo stated that after the Auditors of Public Accounts asked for the information from the third-party vendor, the vendor informed them that they would not provide the requested data without a contract change order and payment for the production of the data.

“Our auditors should have full access to data to prove these programs are working and people are not abusing the system,” said Perillo.

“This is taxpayers’ money we are talking about here and it is unacceptable that third-party vendors are holding state data hostage,” added Perillo. “We need to make sure government is open and transparent and that we work to eliminate wasteful spending, fraud and abuse.”

In addition, Perillo asked that if any third-party vendor is holding back data to the auditors due to contract language that the commissioner contact the attorney general to ask for assistance to force the third-party vendor to release the data.

Perillo has been vocal in the past about needing to reduce fraud and abuse in state government programs. Last year and this year, Perillo introduced common sense legislation to limit the out of state use of state benefit cards to 90 days. Last week, Democrats on the Human Services Committee voted to stifle public debate on the topic, he said, by refusing to hold a public hearing on the topic.