During his State Of The Union Address, President Biden vowed “to go after the criminals who stole billions in relief money meant for small businesses and millions of Americans.”
Toward that end, he announced the Justice Department will soon name a chief prosecutor for pandemic fraud and claimed “the watchdogs are back.”
Hardly. Biden claiming watchdog status is a fox guarding the henhouse. Why doesn’t the president start with rooting out fraud in his own home, especially the reported corruption by his son, Hunter?
Color me skeptical of Biden’s to-be-named “fraud czar.”
I wish Biden the best in this endeavor, but it also raises suspicions about whether, rather than to actually go after abuse, his government will use its power to harass political enemies. It’s certainly not unprecedented, given how the Obama-Biden administration used the Internal Revenue Service to target conservative groups, a disturbing action that later drew an apology and financial settlement from the Trump Department of Justice.
We know that firms tied to Democratic lawmakers and their spouses got millions in PPP loans. Given how the Swamp functions, it’s unlikely that Biden will throw the whole weight of government behind recovering any fraud at those Dem-tied firms.
Of course, if the administration really wants to go after fraud, it’s a target-rich environment. The Federal Trade Commission reported a nearly 3000% increase in reports of identity theft involving public benefits from 2019 to 2020. Consumers reported losing more than $3.3 billion to fraud in 2020, up from $1.8 billion in 2019, according to the FTC.
A White House fact sheet touting the “fraud czar” claimed this leader would root out unemployment fraud tied to COVID programs. Good idea. There were $78 billion in unemployment overpayments between April 2020 and December 2021, according to the Labor Department.
Criminals stole some $100 billion in pandemic relief funds, the U.S. Secret Service said in December — money pilfered from initiatives like the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. More than $400 million in fraud was recovered from PayPal and Green Dot Corporation payment platform companies.
Once you throw in unemployment scams and other COVID-related fraud involving organized cybercrime and international crime rings, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), puts the fraud figure at $400 billion — a figure he notes is more than the entire 2021 budgets of the Army and the Navy combined.
Given these astronomical fraud figures, why on earth are Democrats like Biden salivating to spend even more through new COVID-related spending? This is a wretched idea, given extreme levels of theft and sky-high inflation driven by government over-spending — not to mention Biden’s own health czars are substantially scaling back COVID restrictions.
New spending would be superfluous, given that Congress already approved nearly $500 billion in COVID-era spending that hasn’t yet been earmarked for any federal agency. Biden in his speech to Congress vowed to cut the deficit, and shelling out more taxpayer cash would do just the opposite.
Last year, Rep. Ted Budd told me that only 9% of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill Democrats rammed through last year was actually for relief. He and many others were incensed that the spending supposed to help Americans struggling during COVID was instead going to unrelated pet projects.
Even the left-leaning PolitiFact rated “Mostly True” a claim from conservative Stand for America that the bill was stuffed with money for projects that had nothing to do with COVID, like a $100 million underground rail project in Silicon Valley, $480 million for Native American language preservation and maintenance, $50 million in “environmental justice” grants, and $1.5 million for a bridge connecting New York and Canada.
Given that Democrats love to abuse the system and defraud the American public — e.g. claiming money is meant for one thing and spending it for another — why on earth should we believe Biden will aggressively recover illegal fraud?