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Tipsheet

Billions in COVID Fraud to Finally Be Investigated

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool

The House Oversight Committee, now led by Republicans, is set to hold a hearing Wednesday investigating billions of dollars in stolen COVID-19 relief money. 

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“We owe it to Americans to identify how hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars spent under the guise of pandemic relief were lost to waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement. For the past two years, Democrats in the Administration and Congress have spent far too much time pushing money out the door and far too little time conducting meaningful oversight of how that money is being spent," House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer released in a statement about the hearing. "That changes with our House Republican majority. Under Republican leadership, the Oversight Committee is returning to its primary duty to root out waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in the federal government and hold President Biden accountable.”

According to CNBC, the Secret Service launched over 900 criminal investigations into COVID relief fraud. 

The government quickly rolled out the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program last year to help small businesses. Both programs have been plagued with problems. A report from a Labor Department inspector general blamed inadequate controls for billions of dollars in potential fraud.

The fast rollout of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program made it easy prey for fraudsters. The Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General, in a report released in March, said that at least $89 billion of the estimated $896 billion in unemployment program funds “could be paid improperly, with a significant portion attributable to fraud.”

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When Democrats were in charge of the Committee, they failed to launch a single investigation into the stolen funds. 

Department of Justice Inspector General and Pandemic Response Accountability Committee Chair Michael Horowitz , U.S. Government Accountability Office Gene Dodaro and U.S. Secret Service Assistant Director of Investigations David Smith will testify. The hearing will be held Wednesday at 10 p.m. eastern.  


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