By Matt Murphy
State House News Service
---- — BOSTON — Republican leaders in the House and Senate yesterday asked the Patrick administration to compile detailed information on the type and amount of public assistance benefits paid to the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings.
House Minority Leader Brad Jones of North Reading said he contacted the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to request that the administration delve deeper into the welfare assistance provided by Massachusetts to dead bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his family.
Jones also asked that the Department of Transitional Assistance verify whether all family members met eligibility requirements when applying for public benefits.
“The findings of the investigation are vitally important in assuring that taxpayer subsidized benefits are being acquired and used in an appropriate manner,” Jones said in a statement.
Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr of Gloucester joined with Jones, calling it “angering to see that those who perpetrated such a merciless and cowardly act of terrorism had been receiving state benefits funded by public dollars.”
Health and Human Services spokesman Alec Loftus confirmed that the families of bombing suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were recipients of public welfare assistance. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who lived in Cambridge, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was a student at UMass-Dartmouth, received benefits through their parents when they were younger.
Loftus said that the Tsarnaevs’ parents were former recipients of transitional assistance benefits and that separately Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his family received benefits until 2012, “when the family became ineligible based on their income.” “The brothers were not receiving transitional assistance benefits at the time of the incident and have not received any transitional assistance benefits this year,” he said.
Rep. Jim Lyons, R-Andover and others planned to hold a press conference at the start of the House debate yesterday to highlight what they see as unnecessary and fraudulent spending by the Patrick administration. The press event in the State House was cancelled when no reporters showed up.
“The fact that our tax dollars are going to those that are vicious murderers I think it’s just horrific,” he said. “You think of the victims and the families and to know benefits are going to people like that it’s awful. It really points to the fact that we have to demand more from the Patrick administration.”