On Monday, The Federalist reported the following:
While millions of jobless Americans struggled to make ends meet during devastating government-mandated lockdowns, thousands of federal employees double-dipped from taxpayer-funded pandemic unemployment funds while mostly working from home.
Despite staying on taxpayers’ payroll during the height of the pandemic panic, greedy bureaucrats in the Internal Revenue Service, Transportation Security Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, United States Postal Service, Amtrak, and the Secret Service defrauded taxpayers out of millions more dollars under the guise of Covid unemployment fund and wage assistance programs.
…Thanks to rushed and lax standards, whereby “claimants only needed to self-certify they met eligibility requirements when they filed for [pandemic unemployment assistance] benefits,” more than $8.8 million in taxpayer funds were funneled to 638 DHS employees unlawfully. FEMA’s state workforce agencies also paid out $1.2 million in “lost wages assistance” to 935 DHS workers who were “fully employed.” At least 366 of those ineligible DHS officials were actually paid overtime during the period they were approved, receiving up to hundreds of dollars per week on top of normal unemployment benefits.
I have no way of knowing whether this was corruption or simply bad record keeping, but either way it is totally unacceptable. Unless the government can show us that it is capable of managing the money it collects in taxes, we should not increase the amount of money (or the debt ceiling) that we are giving it.
The article concludes:
Already, the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC), an oversight committee within the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, determined that “tens of thousands” of federal employees applied for and received Small Business Administration loans even though their status as government-employed disqualified them from taking the handout.
Ernst (Republican Sen. Joni Ernst), the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, noted in her letter that the PRAC’s investigation into loans is ongoing and could yield even more deception and taxpayer money wasted by government workers.
Federal employees weren’t the only ones who wrongfully raked in millions of pandemic dollars. Hundreds of state and local government staff in Georgia, Indiana, and Louisiana also defrauded taxpayers.
This is not acceptable.