House Oversight panel to probe 'hundreds of billions, if not trillions,' in pandemic relief fraud
"We want to try to determine what happened with the fraudulent unemployment insurance funds, the fraudulent PPP loan funds, some of this money that's being spent for state and local governments in the COVID stimulus money," says incoming chairman, Rep. James Comer.
Incoming House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) says he's planning a full investigation into the "hundreds of billions, if not trillions," of dollars in pandemic stimulus fraud.
The U.S. Labor Department's inspector general has estimated that nearly $46 billion in federal pandemic unemployment assistance was stolen via fraudulent claims.
As of June, about $10 billion in fraudulently obtained funds had been returned to the federal government. The Secret Service announced in August it recovered $286 million in fraudulent PPP loans.
Comer was asked if there's one investigation that will be the central focus of his committee when the GOP formally takes the majority.
"Well, we're going to investigate between 40 and 50 different things," Comer said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. "We have the capacity. We'll have 25 members on the committee, and we're going to have a staff close to 70. So we have the ability to investigate a lot of things.
Comer argued that the Democratic majority on the House Oversight Committee hasn't been investigating the Biden administration's actions in any area.
"Over the past two years, the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee haven't investigated anything in this administration," he said. "They've investigated the Washington Commanders football team, we've had several hearings on social issues that the Oversight Committee has absolutely nothing to do with, issues like abortion. We believe that there have been hundreds of billions, if not trillions, of dollars wasted over the past three years, so that spans two administrations, in the name of COVID. We want to have hearings on that.
"We want to try to determine what happened with the fraudulent unemployment insurance funds, the fraudulent PPP loan funds, some of this money that's being spent for state and local governments in the Covid stimulus money. So these are things that are going to be priorities for us as a committee: waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement. That's going to be the goal of the House Oversight Committee."
Comer has also said his committee plans to fully investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and Hunter Biden's foreign business activity to find out if it was connected to President Biden.