House Republicans are furious with the Department of Labor’s “unacceptable” response to mass fraud related to pandemic unemployment insurance (UI) and other programs.
“The lack of a sufficient response and action from the administration to date is disappointing and unacceptable,” wrote Texas Republican Rep. Kevin Brady and Ohio Republican Rep. Brad Wenstrup in a letter to Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, which the Washington Times obtained.
“The amount of UI fraud is staggering, which is why congressional Republicans have repeatedly sought information about the billions of taxpayer dollars stolen due to fraud and worked to stop the ‘pay and chase’ model and improve accountability in pandemic unemployment programs,” they wrote. “Today we reiterate our requests for information about the administration’s knowledge of UI fraud and what is being done to recover stolen dollars.”
The lawmakers furthered asked Walsh to preserve documents related to the Department of Labor’s handling of fraud and its awareness of the issue. Moreover, the letter implored him to respond to a litany of other inquiries about the Department’s efforts to address fraud, per the Times.
The outlet cited estimates from government watchdogs ranging from $10 billion to $400 billion in fraudulent UI funds, of the $800 billion spent in total.
Other government pandemic relief, including the Paycheck Protection Program, have faced considerable fraud. Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin said that his son had been the victim of identity theft in a scheme to obtain $140,000 through that program.
“Somebody had stolen his identity,” he said. “Government-backed PPP loans were created to help small businesses survive the COVID pandemic.”