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Congressman Issa Leads Call for House Oversight Committee Hearing on California Unemployment Fraud

February 11, 2021

Washington, DC — Today, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) led a letter with House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-KY) and Representative Gary Palmer (R-AL) requesting House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) convene a hearing on the massive unemployment benefit fraud uncovered in the State of California. 

California State Audit reports issued on January 26 and 28, 2021 uncovered between $11 – $31 billion in fraudulent benefits issued by the California Employment Development Department which administers California’s unemployment insurance (UI) program.

“This egregious mismanagement is a twin betrayal of both taxpayers and our fellow citizens who need and deserve these benefits. Despite repeated warnings of fraud and outright theft, the State hesitated when it should have acted, then panicked and paused legitimate benefits for millions of residents. Enough is enough. We need answers, accountability and immediate reform,” said Rep. Issa.

The letter in part reads, “Additional reports verify the state paid more than 35,000 claims under state prisoners’ names, with one inmate collecting nearly $49,000.  California also paid more than $421,000 to 133 Death Row inmates—including Scott Peterson, a San Quentin prisoner found guilty of killing his wife and unborn child.  Still, more fraudulent payouts went to organized crime sources in Russia, China, and other countries. The Sacramento County District Attorney called it “perhaps the biggest fraud of taxpayer dollars in California history.”

Read the full request letter here.

Last week, Congressman Issa wrote a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom and California officials demanding answers and action regarding the fraud.

Darrell Issa is the Representative of California’s 50th Congressional District. The District encompasses the central and northeastern parts of San Diego County and a portion of Riverside County; including the communities of Fallbrook, San Marcos, Valley Center, Ramona, Escondido, Santee, Lakeside, El Cajon, Temecula, and the mountain and desert areas of the San Diego-Imperial County line. Issa served as the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform from 2011-2015.

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Follow Congressman Issa on Twitter:https://twitter.com/repdarrellissa

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CONTACT: Nick Allman
PHONE: (202) 740 - 2214
E-MAIL: 
nick.allman@mail.house.gov