Windhorst Reacts to Audit Revealing $5 Billion in Pandemic Fraud Payments

 METROPOLIS – State Representative Patrick Windhorst issued the following statement after reviewing a recent audit report from the Illinois Auditor General revealed that the State paid out more than $5 billion in fraudulent or excessive unemployment claims over two years.

 “This week’s reports of widespread fraud and failure stemming from payments from the unemployment insurance trust fund throughout the COVID-19 pandemic should concern every Illinois taxpayer. Throughout the height of the pandemic and well beyond, I called for Governor Pritzker to depart from his unilateral management of the crisis. The legislature should have been involved every step of the way to provide the kind of oversight and accountability of the administration that would have helped prevent and stamp out this fraud and abuse.

 “We should never forget how difficult it was for every Illinoisan that lost their job due to lockdowns and mandates to navigate the unemployment insurance system. To learn that $5 billion in fraudulent payments went out the door while people that were rightfully owed their money languished without answers and resources is inexcusable. The legislature has an obligation to investigate these failures, and the administration has an obligation to explain to Illinois taxpayers what they are doing to ensure this never happens again.”