Newt Gingrich, here’s a freebie: Next time you attack Barack Obama as the “food-stamp president,” use this story. If you want the smear to stick without sounding racist, Amanda Clayton is your Poster Girl.
The 24-year-old Clayton had been receiving $200 per month from Michigan’s Department of Human Services to feed herself and her two children. Then something amazing happened: She won the lottery. A million bucks! Game changer! Goodbye food stamps forever!
You probably know where this is headed. Despite a Michigan state law that requires welfare recipients to report any changes in assets or income to the department within 10 days, Clayton stayed mum. She didn’t report shit. So while she was collecting a $700,000 lump sum (about half a mil after taxes), she continued to receive food assistance.
So what’s Clayton got to say about all this fuss over little ol’ her? “I thought that they would cut me off, but since they didn’t I thought maybe it was OK because I’m not working,” Clayton told WDIV, which broke the story. “I feel that it’s OK because I have no income, and I have bills to pay. I have two houses.”
Her mother, Euline Clayton, told The Detroit News to bugger off about this issue: “I’m not saying it’s the right thing to do. But it’s nobody’s business if she’s not breaking the law.”
Well, shit, Clayton Matriarch, bilking the state for money when you’re not entitled to it is the very definition of both breaking the law and citizen business. The elder Clayton also told TDN that her daughter bought a house and a car with that lump sum payment. But her daughter is “struggling” nonetheless.
Late Wednesday, the Department of Human Services said Clayton is no longer getting food stamps.
But there’s a fun twist to this absurdity. In 2010, the same thing happened when a man won a $2 million lottery and stayed on the dole. That inspired state Rep. Dale Zorn to do something about it, and legislation to weed out big-time lotto winners passed the state House (it’s pending in the Senate).
It turns out, in a “What does that make us?” kind of way, “Zorn is a distant cousin of the grandmother of Clayton’s ex-boyfriend, Joshua Ormanian,” TDN reported. Zorn’s relative, her ex, says Clayton went on “an insane shopping spree” after winning. Hey, c’mon, she may need food stamps to stock all her pantries.