Republican Leaders Demand Answers on Billions of Taxpayer Dollars Stolen Due to COVID-Era Fraud
House Republican leaders are demanding answers on the progress of the Biden Administration’s investigation into billions of taxpayer dollars that have been stolen or improperly paid amid reports that anywhere between $163 billion and $400 billion has been lost to fraud.
The letter was sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland and signed by Ways and Means Republican Leader Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) along with House Budget Committee Republican Leader Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO), Judiciary Committee Republican Leader Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), and House Small Business Committee Republican Leader Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO).
In the letter, the members wrote:
“A lack of critical safeguards left COVID-19 funds vulnerable to criminal activities, theft, and improper use. The American Rescue Plan Act made business loans and unemployment funds easier to access without verification of applicants’ identity or proof of financial need, putting taxpayer dollars at further risk for fraud.”
CLICK HERE to read the full letter.
The Biden Administration Has No Idea Exactly How Many Tax Dollars Have Been Stolen or Improperly Paid.
- In February 2022, the White House estimated that 19 percent of total COVID unemployment insurance payments were lost to fraud – totaling over $80 billion.
- The DOL’s new estimate puts that number much higher. Outside experts say the number could be as high as $400 billion.
Ways and Means Republicans Have Sounded the Alarm on COVID-Related Fraud for More Than a Year.
- Ways and Means Committee Democrats unanimously rejected a proposal offered by Ways and Means Republicans to verify the identity of applicants for unemployment benefits and get documentation prior to sending any money out the door.
- Requests for a joint hearing on fraud in pandemic-era programs have fallen on deaf ears and letters to the Biden Administration have gone unanswered.
- In February, 2022, Republican Leaders sent a letter urging the Department of Labor to hold off on “reckless” guidance that would allow states to forgo recovery of overpayments in pandemic unemployment programs.
READ: WATCHDOG: Less than $1 Billion Recovered as Key UI Fraud Estimate Increases to $163 Billion
Republicans Are Fighting Against Unchecked Unemployment Fraud and Abuse of Taxpayer Dollars.
- While the Biden Administration calls for more COVID relief, Reps. Brady, J. Smith, and House Energy & Commerce Committee Republican Leader Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) demanded the Administration provide a detailed accounting of where the $6 trillion in COVID-19 funding has been spent.
- Rep. Brady, along with top Republican leaders, introduced the Combatting COVID Unemployment Fraud Act of 2021 to prevent fraud in COVID unemployment programs, recover fraudulently paid benefits, and provide relief for taxpayers and victims of unemployment fraud.
- Ways and Means Republicans, led by Republican Leader of the Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) have held two public meetings with industry experts to raise awareness and offer safeguards to taxpayer dollars. Watch those meetings here and here.