According to a new report, the Republican Party is not backing down on the issue of fraud in COVID jobless benefits. A group of 31 House Republicans are now requesting an audit into this fraud.
In an open letter on Friday, California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert, and several others called for an investigation by the Labor Department’s acting Inspector General, Larry Turner.
The letter, addressed to Turner, begins by expressing “concerns that the United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General has not conducted a comprehensive official audit regarding the amount of money fraudulent claims have stolen from the unemployment insurance (UI) program issued through the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and states’ unemployment agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
According to these Republicans, U.S. taxpayer dollars have been given to fraudulent claims for COVID relief.
This news comes soon after a report from independent auditors indicated that up to $400 billion — which is half of the COVID jobless relief money — was allegedly stolen by criminals.
“As a result of this mismanagement by states, the IG office predicts that $89 billion of the estimated $896 billion in federal unemployment program funds could have been paid improperly, basing the prediction on a historic improper payment rate of at least 10%. However, the security company ID.me estimates that possibly 50% of all claims equaling more than $400 billion have been paid out improperly through fraud or errors since March 2020,” the letter read.
These criminals obtained the money by stealing the personal information of American citizens, and using that information, they fraudulently file for unemployment benefits. The report also indicates that approximately 70 percent of these stolen benefits was taken by foreign criminals. Experts are warning that this could be a danger to national security.
“We know that fraudulent activity is still rampant in UI programs across the country. It is past time we learned how much of American taxpayers’ dollars have actually been given to fraudulent claims. We therefore urge that United States Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General conduct an official audit to determine to what extent did fraud occur in COVID-related unemployment assistance programs, issued through the U.S. Department of Labor and how much did this fraud cost the American taxpayers,” the letter concluded.
Breaking 🚨 @RepSteel, & I led a letter with 29 of our @HouseGOP colleagues calling for an audit of the @USDOL over the widespread fraud occurring in the pandemic unemployment insurance program. We must determine how many American taxpayer dollars have been wasted.
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— Rep. Doug Lamborn (@RepDLamborn) July 8, 2021