Ranking Republicans demand answers from Garland on COVID fraud

The members cited multiple reports that COVID-19 relief fraud ‘has exceeded hundreds of billions of dollars’

FIRST ON FOX: Ranking House Republicans sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday demanding answers about the Biden administration’s effort to investigate hundreds of billions worth of federal COVID-19 tax dollars allegedly lost to fraud.

Citing “multiple reports that fraud from COVID-19 federal spending and government benefits has exceeded hundreds of billions of dollars, though the exact figure is unknown,” the members demanded specifics regarding Associate Deputy Attorney General Kevin Chambers’ work as director of COVID-19 fraud enforcement.

The letter was signed by House Budget Committee Republican Leader Jason Smith of Missouri, along with House Judiciary Committee Republican Leader Jim Jordan of Ohio, House Small Business Committee Republican Leader Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri and House Ways and Means Committee Republican Leader Kevin Brady of Texas.

Chambers was appointed to the position in March amid criminal charges from the Department of Justice (DOJ) against more than 1,000 defendants, with alleged losses exceeding $1.1 billion. When he was appointed, there were also 240 civil investigations into more than 1,800 individuals and entities for alleged misconduct regarding COVID-19 relief loans totaling more than $6 billion.

The letter went on to claim “a lack of critical safeguards left COVID-19 funds vulnerable to criminal activities, theft, and improper use.”

“The American Rescue Plan Act made business loans and unemployment funds easier to access without verification of applicants’ identity or proof of financial need, putting taxpayer dollars at further risk for fraud,” they wrote, citing multiple news reports.

Explaining how Chambers has yet to provide any information regarding his COVID fraud investigation to Congress in the two months since he was appointed, the members concluded by asking when he will update Congress with a breakdown of the fraud related to the American Rescue Plan over the past year.

Among other things, Republicans also wanted to know why the Biden administration did not request funding for Chambers’ position or his task force in 2023, given that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects billions of dollars of outlays from the American Rescue Plan through at least 2031.

“Hardworking American families are struggling with five-dollar gas, record high inflation, and a baby formula shortage,” Jordan told Fox News Digital. “Meanwhile, nearly $100 billion has been stolen from taxpayer funds passed as part of Joe Biden’s so-called ‘American Rescue Plan.’”

“Reckless Democrat-passed spending has caused the failing Biden economy, and now Democrats continue to stonewall common-sense good-government proposals from Republicans, like strengthening identity verification to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer resources,” the ranking member added.