Taxpayers are apparently buying welfare recipients booze and cigarettes for the road — at times a very exotic road.

A Watchdog.org analysis of a Colorado Department of Human Services welfare ATM withdrawals database shows that $3.8 million was withdrawn by Colorado welfare recipients outside the state in the past two years. There were withdrawals at out-of-state liquor stores and tobacco outlets, as well as vacation destinations like Hawaii, Las Vegas and even the Virgin Islands, data shows.

State Rep. Tim Dore, R-Elizabeth, who has urged limitations on where welfare recipients can use their electronic benefit transfer cards in Colorado, was shocked taxpayers are apparently funding some exotic travel.

“I wasn’t even aware of that,” said Dore, who promised to try to address the misuse of cards at liquor stores, casinos and marijuana shops in the next legislative session after Watchdog asked him about those items for previous stories. “That’s an additional issue we need to look into it.”

Last week, Watchdog.org published stories about Colorado welfare withdrawals at liquor stores and casinos despite federal and state law banning such actions and welfare recipients taking out money at the state’s legal marijuana shops. Federal law prevents EBT withdrawals from ATMs at liquor stores, casinos and other adult establishments, and Colorado law since 1996 prevented ATM use in liquor stores and casinos in Colorado.

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