Sen. Rose Statement on Audit Exposing $5 Billion in Unaccounted For Unemployment Payments

State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) released the following statement regarding the recently released performance audit of IDES during the pandemic:

“I think during the early days of the pandemic we felt that everyone was doing the best that they could with an extremely difficult and unprecedented situation. However, it quickly became clear to myself and countless others on both sides of the aisle in the General Assembly that the taxpayers were being robbed blind by what was happening at IDES. The Governor ignored these warnings and told us the situation was under control. I filed the resolution that led to this audit so that we could all finally get some answers and find out how bad it really was.

“This audit has made it crystal clear that the administration’s management of the unemployment system during COVID was an unmitigated disaster of historic proportions. More than $5 billion was paid out improperly, and only about a tenth of that was recovered. $6 million in payments went to people who were deceased and a whopping $40 million was paid to people who were behind bars at the time. While we are still reviewing all the details of the scathing audit, it’s clear that the agency failed to follow its own safety protocols, and, according to the audit, is apparently still refusing to follow common-sense guidance from the feds. All the while, the agency completely dropped the ball on the one thing it said it was focused on, which was getting unemployment benefits in a timely matter to the people who desperately needed them.

“The people of Illinois should be disgusted at how badly their money was handled and how little was done to account for the outright theft and gross incompetence. The people who were supposed to serve as stewards of their resources completely failed them, and their ineptitude served to embolden and help criminals to abuse the system and steal benefits. I have constituents who were lawfully entitled to benefits that they never received, and then now they have to read about billions that are missing.”

Sen. Anderson reacts to audit of state’s broken unemployment system

State Senator Neil Anderson (R-Andalusia) has released the below statement following the release of a recent audit of the Illinois Department of Employment Security in which an estimated $5.24 billion was made in unemployment overpayments:

“This audit shows what we’ve feared all along, which is that Illinois taxpayers and businesses were being robbed by the Pritzker Administration’s incompetence. The disaster and dysfunction at IDES resulted in over $5 billion in wrongful payments—all while rightful beneficiaries waited months to receive owed unemployment benefits from Pritzker’s forced shutdowns. Now, it’s on the taxpayers to pay for the failures of their state government.

“This Administration continuously failed to act appropriately during the COVID era and failed to put the necessary and recommended safeguards in place to prevent the massive fraud that this audit has exposed. This is a complete gut punch to our state’s residents and proper steps must be taken to avoid a disaster like this in the future.”

Senator Anderson is a member of the state’s Legislative Audit Commission which oversees state audits.

Sen. Harriss reacts to audit of state’s broken unemployment system

State Senator Erica Harriss (56th-Glen Carbon) has released the below statement following the release of a recent audit of the Illinois Department of Employment Security in which an estimated $5.24 billion was made in unemployment overpayments:

“Since taking office, I have been a strong advocate for the taxpayer and the recent audit findings of IDES are extremely alarming and frightening for our state’s residents. Fraudulent claims were made, fraudsters were paid, and now taxpayers are on the hook for this unemployment disaster. Our residents deserve better.”

Sen. Wilcox Responds to Scathing IDES Audit

On Wednesday, a full audit of the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) from 2020-2022 revealed a staggering $5.24 billion in overpayments by the Department. Upon receipt of the report, State Senator Craig Wilcox (R-McHenry), who sits on the Legislative Audit Commission, issued the following statement:

“Throughout the pandemic and beyond, Governor Pritzker and members of his Administration have done everything they can to keep information regarding the depth of dysfunction at IDES hidden. Now, thanks to an audit requested by Republican Senator Chapin Rose, we have more answers about the level of wrongful payments made by IDES from 2020-2022, and the issue was much worse than anyone thought.

“This audit shines a light on the complete incompetence of Governor Pritzker’s Department of Employment Security during the pandemic. The worst part is that a lot of this $5.24 billion in overpayments was preventable. If the Pritzker Administration had insisted on a proper eligibility review of each application and adopted federal fraud-prevention guidelines, they would not have been issuing payments to fraudsters who stole identities or filed as people who were deceased or in prison.

“The Governor and top officials at IDES never took responsibility for their sloppiness and have yet to apologize to the hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans who were affected by their incompetence. At a time when the people of Illinois needed their government most, Governor Pritzker and his officials at IDES failed them. Instead, taxpayers and businesses are now left on the hook to pay for the incompetence and gross negligence of this Administration. The people of Illinois deserve much better.”

Sen. Bryant reacts to scathing IDES audit

State Senator Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) released the following statement regarding the recently released performance audit of IDES during the pandemic:

“The details contained in this IDES audit are without a question sickening. In an effort to fast-track claims, Illinois awarded millions of dollars to a company in a no-bid contract just for IDES to disable routine identity cross-matches meant to prevent fraud within the system we paid for.

“This ill-conceived decision helped fraudsters to steal billions of dollars of unemployed benefits while hardworking Illinoisians facing economic uncertainty created by the Pritzker Administration’s lockdown were forced to spend countless hours trying to access the benefits they rightfully deserved.

“The mismanagement and poor decisions made by IDES is disgraceful to say the very least. The people of our state deserve accountability. Unfortunately, I do not have confidence we will see any accountability from this Administration.”

Sen. Turner reacts to scathing IDES audit

State Senator Sally Turner (R-Beason) released the following statement regarding the recently released performance audit of IDES during the pandemic:

“I am outraged by the complete mismanagement of our state’s unemployment insurance program that this audit shows. It is truly hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that more than $5 billion of unemployment benefits were improperly paid out in just two years and that only a tenth of that money has been recovered.

“The lack of planning and poor decision-making committed by IDES throughout this report are beyond concerning. The people and businesses of our state do not deserve to pay for the state’s mishandling of this program. What they do deserve is answers to how this was allowed to happen and what the Administration is doing to recertify the problems created by their own gross incompetence.”

Sen. Plummer statement on IDES audit uncovering $5 billion in improper unemployment payments

State Senator Jason Plummer (R-Edwardsville) released the below statement following the release of the recent performance audit of the Department of Employment Security’s handling of unemployment payments during the COVID pandemic.

“Early during the COVID pandemic we sounded the alarm about what was happening with the unemployment system, the need to do things properly and prioritize those most in need. But our logic was completely ignored by the Pritzker administration. When we warned there was over a billion in improper payments, the administration laughed. Once it became clear that there would be significant fraud, they downplayed the issue and fought to avoid common-sense transparency.

“This audit makes it clear that the administration didn’t follow their own basic safety protocols nor the recommendations from the federal government, and because of that, the taxpayers are getting taken to the cleaners to the tune of $5 billion in improper payments. Scammers and fraudsters feasted on Illinois because of this administration’s incompetence and carelessness. Meanwhile, many people who were lawfully entitled to benefits did not receive them in their greatest time of need.

“Illinois is still not up to national standards, which comes down to the continued failure of leadership. Governor Pritzker talks the talk from his bully pulpit, but it’s clear he has no interest in walking the walk of managing an administration that has repeatedly failed to protect taxpayer resources and provide essential services in times of crisis. Illinois once again sets a new dismal standard as other states point to us as the example of how to not run government. History shows Senate Republicans were sounding the alarm as we tried to avoid this catastrophe.”

Sen. McClure statement on scathing unemployment audit

State Senator Steve McClure (R-Springfield) released the following statement following the release of the performance audit of the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s (IDES) handling of unemployment benefits during the COVID pandemic:

“When I first glanced at this audit, I thought it was a joke. But there is nothing funny about what happened to more than $5 billion of taxpayer money. At a time when people desperately needed the agency to be competent and provide timely access to benefits that they were lawfully entitled to, the gross incompetence of the agency kept them waiting, while tens of millions of dollars were sent instead to people who were deceased or in prisons.

“The results of this audit need to lead to massive changes at IDES immediately, otherwise the citizens of this state will continue to be in serious risk of identity theft, and our tax dollars will continue to be thrown out the window.”

Sen. Stoller reacts to scathing IDES audit

State Senator Win Stoller (R-Germantown Hills) released the following statement regarding the recently released performance audit of IDES during the pandemic:

“Merely on the surface, the fact that this audit reveals that IDES was estimated to have improperly overpaid unemployment benefits to the tune of more than $5 billion is nearly unfathomable. However, it only gets worse the more you dive into the full report – doing so reveals that IDES made over 10,000 payments to deceased individuals, more than 90,000 payments to incarcerated individuals, and intentionally turned off fraud detection safeguards.

“To top it off, out of this $5 billion, only roughly ten percent has been recovered by the state. Additionally, the state borrowed $4.5 billion from the federal government for unemployment benefits, only for us to find out in this report that money was essentially used to cover fraud.

“The people of Illinois deserve better than this disastrous mismanagement by the Pritzker administration.”

Sen. DeWitte Blasts Pritzker Administration over IDES Audit

A comprehensive audit report of the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) was released this week, and results showed that a staggering $5.24 billion in taxpayer funds were wrongly paid out to fraudsters. After reading the report, State Senator Don DeWitte (R-St. Charles) issued the following statement:

“Every person in this state, regardless of Party affiliation, should be appalled at the total disregard of structure, policy, rules, and regulations that were designed and available to prevent these kinds of illegal, unauthorized, and undocumented transactions from flourishing at taxpayers’ expense. There must be a level of accountability looked into following these findings. This is $5.24 billion in taxpayer dollars that were completely wasted.”

“Decisions were made to purposely remove the many safeguards that would have prevented this from happening. The Legislature needs to determine who made those decisions, especially since the choice to ignore proper protocols was made, clearing a path for the Pritzker Administration to simply put money into people’s hands as quickly as possible without any level of eligibility verification or scrutiny. These decisions, given the billions of dollars involved, represent a total abdication of fiscal responsibility, and confirm a total inability to account for taxpayer dollars.”

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