As I explain in greater detail in an editorial today, I’ve got a couple of problems with the inquiry launched by Rep. David Linsky’s House Post-Audit Committee into housing and food assistance received by the Tsarnaev family. First, it looks like blatant headline-chasing. I don’t understand why intelligent people like Linsky take the Herald and the talk radio ranters so seriously. Besides, the FBI, CIA, DHS, BPD, ATF and prosecutors from at least two Massachusetts counties and countless other agencies are already investigating the Tsarnaevs. Do they really need the House Post-Audit Committee to join the hunt?
Linsky’s response, I trust, would be that those other agencies won’t investigate whether state bureaucrats improperly authorized their food stamps and Section 8 housing vouchers (and I hope they won’t). And if Linsky wants to investigate state administrative procedures for awarding need-based benefits, that’s fine with me. What I object to is the implication, from the likes of Rep. Shauna O’Connell (“I’m concerned that the taxpayers and victims here may have been funding terrorists, and people have a right to know if that is the case, and they have the right to know immediately,” she said), is that the problem isn’t that the Tsarnaevs aren’t eligible for the benefits. It’s that they are “terrorists.” The implication is that state employees in welfare offices should vouch for the politics, religion and the potential criminal intent of applicants in addition to getting them to answer questions about household finances.
That would be unwise, illegal and stupid. The crimes allegedly committed by the Tsarnaev boys in April 2013 should have no bearing on whether they were improperly awarded housing subsidies and food stamps years before. I respect Dave Linsky and assume he understands that concept, which means this investigation is mostly political pandering.