State lawmakers have launched an investigation into whether the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings improperly received public benefits.
Did Massachusetts taxpayers help fund the activities of the Tsarnaev brothers? The state House Audit and Oversight Committee held a meeting to look into welfare benefits received by the Tsarnaevs. But the meeting ended after five minutes with few questions actually being answered.
Chairman David Linsky, a Democrat from Natick, said the committee has rounded up more than 400 pages of documents. But he wouldn’t say what was in them.
"I will tell you anything that’s new that I can legally tell you," he said. "I assure you, I want the public to know, here. I want the public to know everything that they legally can and that’s what we’re trying to figure out, what we have, right now.”
He wouldn’t release the documents to the public because of privacy rules.
The state has confirmed that both Tsarnaev brothers received funds from the Department of Transitional Assistance. The older brother, Tamerlan, and his wife and 3-year-old child were receiving benefits until last year. And the parents received welfare benefits when the brothers were younger.
Republican Shaunna O'Connell of Taunton, a longtime critic of the state’s welfare policies, says she was hoping for more information from the committee.
"I am 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 a right to know immediately," she said. "It’s gonna take an awful longtime to go through 500 pages of documents, to go through that information, and I think it should be available at the touch of a button."
Members of the House oversight committee are urging patience as they sort through the documents, trying to determine exactly what benefits the Tsarnaev family got, when the benefits were received, and whether they received them legally.
Linsky said the committee will reconvene as early as the end of this week to take testimony from officials from the Department of Transitional Assistance.