The Illinois Auditor General released a financial audit of the Illinois Department of Employment Security on Wednesday. According to Illinois Senate GOP leaders, the audit shows one of the biggest failures of the Pritzker Administation’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
38th District Senator and IL Senate GOP leader Sue Rezin of Morris says the report revealed why rampant fraud occurred in the administering of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program: “Despite the report only covering the first few months of the pandemic, it revealed massive failures by the Pritzker Administration when it came to protecting the identities of Illinoisans. Sadly, it showed that the administration was unable to implement even the most basic processes to identify ineligible claimants. At one point in the report, the auditors even stated that eligibility for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program couldn’t be properly audited due to the Pritzker Administration’s failure to accurately document eligibility.”
Rezin says that IDES paid nearly $155 million to potentially ineligible claimants between May 11th and June 30th of last year. The audit also says that potential claimants to the program went to the deceased, children, and people who never existed.
In separate statements saying essentially the same thing, the Pritzker Administration and IDES says challenges created by former President Donald Trump’s Administration and the unprecedented number of claims in a short amount of time were the roots of most of the problems.
54th District Senator Jason Plummer of Edwardsville says that Senate Republicans are filing a resolution asking for a complete audit of IDES: “Today, we are filing a Senate Resolution calling for a full performance audit of the issues within Governor Pritzker’s unemployment offices. The findings of the partial audit are bleak, but again, what is even more concerning is that it is just the beginning. This is a disaster and it was completely avoidable. We need a completed audit of the governor’s management of his unemployment program to fully grasp the damage that has been done at the hands of Governor J.B. Pritzker. We know that his offices have been mismanaged. We know that his offices lack effective leadership. However, we had no clue how extensive the failings were and we have no idea today how much money the state has lost – taxpayer money.”
Illinois Democrats have yet to respond to the Senate resolution. IDES confirmed to WICS Newschannel 20 back on July 22nd that offices have remained closed to the public due to credible threats that include arson, bomb threats, and vandalism along with other threats of violence.