County in legal jeopardy over program
it says has already disbursed $1M
Montgomery County officials told the public that they had appropriated $5 million to disburse as cash payouts to residents who do not qualify for federal coronavirus relief funds. But a new court filing shows that the program has quietly doubled to $10 million without public knowledge. The explosion in size of the check program has only come to light in a letter from County Attorney Marc P. Hansen filed yesterday in U.S. District Court. This letter was in response to the lawsuit right-wing government watchdog group Judicial Watch recently filed against the County, which alleges that the check program is in violation of federal law because Maryland has never passed legislation to allow Montgomery County to disburse cash payments to residents who are illegally present in the United States.
Hansen's letter states that "[i]t has come to our attention that the County has appropriated ten million dollars for the challenged EARP program." The County never publicly announced an appropriation of another $5 million for the program since its original press release. Hansen also confirms that "one million dollars has been disbursed as of this time." The money will be moving quickly out the door, according to Hansen: "It is anticipated that the balance of the appropriated funds will be distributed by the end of the first week of June," he writes to U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messite.
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