Report: Brett Favre questioned by FBI in probe of Mississippi's $70 million welfare fund scandal

·Writer
·3 min read

Brett Favre may have something new to worry about in the fallout of the Mississippi welfare fund scandal that has followed him for more than two years.

The Hall of Fame quarterback for the Green Bay Packers was questioned by the FBI over the $1.1 million in welfare funds he received for appearances he allegedly didn't make, his lawyer Bud Holmes confirmed to NBC News.

As he has in the past, Holmes reportedly claimed Favre did nothing wrong and never understood the money he received from a federal program designed to aid needy families. Favre has not been charged with a crime, though he could still be facing a lawsuit from Mississippi over the repayment of funds.

Favre has since paid $1.1 million back to Mississippi, putting up $500,000 when news of the scandal broke and repaying the other $600,000 a year and a half later, but the state is still waiting on the $228,000 in interest it claims he owes.

Brad Pigott, the former U.S. attorney investigating Favre and other figures in the alleged welfare scheme, including former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, was fired in July, a move he believes to be politically motivated. He wasn't fired soon enough to stop the filing of subpoenas against the group, though.

Mississippi's welfare fund scandal is much bigger than Brett Favre

The basics of the Mississippi welfare scandal, as alleged, break down to something like this.

Mississippi, the poorest state in the country, received around $70 million from the federal government through a program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is supposed to do exactly what its name says, provide temporary financial relief for families with children in dire financial straits.

A Mississippi auditor alleged in March 2020 that the money was directed to two state programs, the Mississippi Community Education Center and Family Resource Center of North Mississippi. Rather than give that money to needy families, the former organization allegedly doled it out to a litany of people and organizations you would be hard-pressed to call needy.

MADISON, WISCONSIN - JUNE 11: Former NFL player Brett Favre stands on the 14th green during the Celebrity Foursome at the second round of the American Family Insurance Championship at University Ridge Golf Club on June 11, 2022 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Brett Favre's $1.1 million in welfare funds is only a small part of an enormous scandal. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

One of those people was Brett Favre, who received $1.1 million after making around $138 million in salary from his NFL career. Another was former WWE wrestler Ted DiBiase Jr., who has since been ordered to repay $3.9 million he allegedly received for serving as a motivational speaker. There was also former college football star Marcus Dupree, who allegedly got $370,000 and Paul LaCoste, a trainer allegedly paid $300,000 to run a fitness boot camp for legislators, per NBC News.

And then there was $5 million spent to build a volleyball facility at Southern Miss, Favre and Bryant's alma mater.

That's only the beginning of the tangle of curious payments, which were all done under the ironically named (in retrospect) Families First for Mississippi, a “family-stabilizing” initiative pushed by Bryant and his wife when he was in office.

The legal fallout may only be beginning, as Nancy New, a friend of Bryant's wife who ran the Mississippi Community Education Center, and her son recently pleaded guilty to state and federal charges of misusing public money and have agreed to testify against others.

Favre has forcefully argued his innocence in all this, but it's very clear no one should want to hear their name come up in what may be the biggest public corruption scandal in recent Mississippi history.