Federal employees in some ways got the easiest side of the pandemic: None of them missed a paycheck, they all kept their health insurance, and many federal offices were some of the last to return to normal work routines.
But with all that spare time, some federal workers decided to get in on side hustle that was very common over the last two years: scamming taxpayers.
The congressional Pandemic Response Accountability Committee has identified billions of dollars in fraudulently obtained pandemic dollars, and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is calling attention to the more than ten thousand pandemic fraudsters who happen to be employed by the federal government.
There are pandemic fraudsters employed by the IRS, the TSA, FEMA, the U.S. Postal Service, Amtrak and Secret Service, and Ernst wants them all fired. The nature of the frauds run the gamut from illegally secured pandemic relief loans to collecting enhanced unemployment benefits while still on the federal payroll.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz is handling investigations for the committee. In a letter to Horowitz, Ernst said anyone found to have defrauded pandemic era programs ought to be canned.
“I hope this money can be recovered, and, to deter those who might ever think of trying to do this again in the future, those who abused the public trust will have their federal employment terminated,” she said.