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.”