Thousands of federal bureaucrats defrauded taxpayers to double their paychecks with Covid aid meant for the unemployed

Downsizing the federal bureaucracy is an urgent priority, and an easy first step is in sight thanks to the larcenous behavior of federal bureaucrats who have nominated themselves for swift termination. Jordan Boyd reports at The Federalist:

… 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 ServiceTransportation Security AdministrationFederal Emergency Management AgencyUnited States Postal ServiceAmtrak, and the Secret Service defrauded taxpayers out of millions more dollars under the guise of Covid unemployment fund and wage assistance programs.

The bureaucrats committed fraud to get the extra money. It was disturbingly easy:

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.

We must thank Iowa’s Senator Joni Ernst for publicizing this grift. She noted a 2022 report from the DHS’s Inspector General and has urged prosecution, recovery of the stolen money, and firing in a letter to Michael Horowitz, chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee.

I know that this will shock you, but this is not the only (or maybe even the largest) Covid relief fraud by federal employees.

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, 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.

And it’s not just federal bureaucrats who have been grifting.  

 Hundreds of state and local government staff in GeorgiaIndiana, and Louisiana also defrauded taxpayers.

Hundreds in just three states translates to thousands nationwide.

A bureaucracy staffed by crooks... why am I not surprised?

Photo credit: Jericho CC BY 3.0 license

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