GOP Rep. Wenstrup: ‘We Did Rush’ Big COVID Relief Bills and That Led to Theft, Fraud

On Friday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Your World,” House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) discussed theft of COVID relief money and stated that part of the problem is that the size of programs made it more difficult to track money, and the bills were rushed.

Wenstrup said, “[I]t’s been estimated…$280 billion [was] pilfered through the programs that were intended for COVID relief. And they also say there’s about 123 billion that had been misused. … But you’re right, the more you hand out, the more money that goes out, the harder it is to track. But the question is, what kind of safeguards do we have in place, and do we have any on the front end or are we only looking in the rearview mirror? And that’s the big problem. So, with the Select Subcommittee for the Pandemic, this is what we’re looking into. … One of the bigger problems that we had…is that we put in — in Congress, we put in self-certification. In other words, you just say that you qualify and you’re able to get these funds. I will tell you, [in] the Ways and Means Committee, Republicans were against that. But Democrats insisted on it. Of course, that went through. Another concern that’s risen to the table has to do with the PPP program, where the Treasury has a list of people that you do not pay. And, unfortunately, that was not used in the PPP program.”

He added, “I don’t blame Biden any more than Trump, this is an administrative type of problem that we have that should be nonpartisan. If both sides of the aisle can say that we did rush this — that was the feeling. If you remember, this was an unprecedented time, and this was an unprecedented amount of spending. But the problem we have is how much of it is actually stolen and going to our adversaries. And we have got to have better guardrails in place going forward. So, we’re looking into what was done, and not necessarily in a vindictive way. There may be some reasons to be vindictive, but we’ve had an economic attack on our country and we’ve got to figure out where we went wrong, why we didn’t do as well as we could have, why we’re not able to recover much of the money that was taken out. Those are all questions we need answered so that we can correct the problem in the future.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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