Its sounds implausible, but President Obama's Justice Department has won a $48.8 million court settlement against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania because that state was paying welfare benefits to illegal aliens.
It was in one of those press releases sent out on a Friday afternoon leading up to a three-day holiday with the Department's Civil Division making the announcement on Friday, January 16.
Thematically, it seems out of place (which perhaps explains the timing of the announcement), with the administration otherwise going all out to extend a wide variety of benefits to illegal aliens even though Congress has not given it the authority to do so.
The case involved Pennsylvania's former practice of allowing at least some illegal aliens to collect Medicaid, TANF cash assistance (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), and food stamps from 2004 through 2010. The release was silent on the distribution of moneys among the three programs, or on the nature of the state policies that allowed those payments.
The timing of the release was presumably carefully orchestrated. It not only came just before a long weekend, but it also arrived four days before the current Republican administration of Governor Robert Corbett was due to end. He will be succeeded on January 20 by the newly elected Democrat, Tom Wolf.
As I reconstruct it, the inappropriate payments to the illegals came during the Democratic governorship of Ed Rendell, but the suit against the state may have begun during the Corbett administration. Presumably the Wolf administration can turn around and seek to extract those benefit checks from the illegals, but that strikes me as an unlikely prospect — an endeavor that would cost more in terms of staff time than it collects in cash.
The schedule of payments, by the way, is a relaxed one: 20 payments of about $2.4 million each over the next 10 years, with no interest to be paid unless the Commonwealth is late on its payments. You can be sure that the dollar will be worth less, maybe a lot less, after the passage of 10 years.