Welfare cash may have been used to get a Massachusetts drug dealer “out of jail free.”

The Boston Herald reports:

Kimball Clark, 45, was locked up Friday on drug-dealing charges—again—when he was overheard using his one phone call to ask the person on the other end of the line to “get my EBT [Electronic Benefit Transfer] card and go to the ATM and get the money to bail me out, get me outa here tonight,”’ according to a Boston police report.

The EBT system provides benefits—including food stamps and cash assistance—through a plastic debit card.

Although Clark posted bail, says the Herald, where he got the money remains unverified.

But that’s part of the problem. State Representative Russell E. Holmes (D) said that “there’s no way to track it. When it comes to how much of this has happened in jail, there’s no way for us to know that.”

“It’s another outrage,” said Massachusetts state Representative Shaunna O’Connell (R). “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.”

O’Connell went on:

The problem is that you can tell people they can’t use their cards here, but when they can go across the street, get cash and then pay their bail or get a tattoo, that’s the problem.… You can’t stop that. It always comes back to cash access.

According to the federal government’s own data, welfare fraud is costing taxpayers billions each year. On top of fraud, recent events such as an Alabama nightclub advertising a “Food Stamp Friday” party ($5 entry with a food stamps card and free shots at the door) illustrate a great need to reform a welfare system that fails to promote personal responsibility.

The vast majority of the federal government’s 70 plus welfare programs do not include measures to promote self-reliance. Work requirements or time limits are either non-existent or weak. Additionally, the federal government has even been promoting measures to make it easier for individuals to get on welfare and stay on it.

Government dependence does not help individuals; it creates a culture of entitlement where fraud can flourish. Welfare programs should encourage personal responsibility by promoting work. Doing so respects not only the dignity of individual in need but also American taxpayers.