California Tries to Blame Trump for $30 Billion in Unemployment Fraud

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

The State of California is attempting to blame former President Donald Trump for the fact that fraudsters stole $30 billion in coronavirus relief payments from the state’s Employment Development Department (EDD).

As Breitbart News reported in 2021, the California State Auditor flagged the EDD for gross mismanagement:

The EDD is the agency through which Californians are supposed to obtain unemployment payments and compensation for maternity leave. However, fraud and mismanagement have led to billions of dollars in losses. The EDD system has sent unemployment checks to prison inmates, while truly deserving Californians wait months for money that they need.

The report itself adds: “EDD did not take substantive action to bolster its fraud detection efforts for its unemployment insurance program until months into the pandemic, resulting in payments of about $10.4 billion for claims that it has since determined may be fraudulent.”

Now, after an inquiry from Rep. James Comer (R-KY), the new chair of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, California is trying to claim that Trump’s supposedly weak federal leadership was to blame.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on the state’s blame-shifting response to the new inquiry from Congress:

“Unfortunately, the Trump Administration expressed no interest in establishing (a) coordinated national response when these (emergency pandemic unemployment) programs were initiated in 2020, leaving states to fend for themselves against a clear pattern of sophisticated, international criminal syndicates at work,” Nancy Farias, director of the state Employment Development Department, wrote in a four-page letter to Rep. James Comer, R-Kentucky, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight & Accountability.

Ironically, it was Democrats, and not the Trump administration, that insisted on distributing coronavirus relief through state unemployment systems, rather than simply using checks from the federal government. They were acting on advice from liberal economists who wanted to see unemployment expanded as a welfare system.

The New York Times reported:

Democrats argued that Congress should focus on narrowly tailored measures that could be delivered quickly.

“We asked the economists what really can stimulate the economy fast, and there were things like food stamps — because people would spend that fast — unemployment insurance, refundable tax credits,” Ms. Pelosi said. “What we are doing has to be related to the coronavirus crisis.”

On Wednesday, Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) argued that Republicans are singling out Democrat-governed states like California and New York for investigation, while ignoring fraud in conservative states.

Many states suffered from similar fraud, though California suffered the most — a fact that some say reflects the state’s large population, but which critics say is a reflection of a dysfunctional, Democrat-run state bureaucracy.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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