Police officers overheard him using his one phone call to ask an unidentified person to “get my EBT card and go to the ATM and get the money to bail me out, get me outta here tonight,” according to the police report.
Conservatives, such as state Rep. Shaunna O’Connell, have longed attempted to minimize welfare abuse — with heavy pushback from colleagues — and she feels vindicated by Clark’s actions:
It’s another outrage,” she said, “When we were on the EBT Card Commission, I fought to get bail bondsmen on that list of places where people could not use their EBT cards. They fought me on it and told me people can’t use their EBT cards in that way.”
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Other uses of the card, according to O’Connell, include alcohol, cigarettes and lotto tickets and she blames the Department of Transitional Assistance for the lapse of oversight:
Obviously the [DTA] has no idea how people use these cards and how the cards work,” O’Connell said.
Clark has now become the face of welfare abuse and fraud for legislators who have long advocated for strict reform. State Rep. Russell E. Holmes says that Clark’s actions come as no surprise to him and he is just one of many that find loopholes in the “lax” system:
It’s exactly the type of activity that can occur when folks are allowed to get money off their EBT card.”
According to the Herald, Clark has been arrested on various charges in the past, including “assault and battery in 2007 and cocaine possession with intent to distribute in 2006, according to the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office.”
It is important to note that Clark did not commit an illegal act by reportedly using his EBT card to post bail, as that is not currently one of the restrictions in the state of Massachusetts.
If conservative lawmakers have their way, though, that will not be the case for long.