On Wednesday, a full audit of the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) from 2020-2022 revealed a staggering $5.24 billion in overpayments by the Department. Upon receipt of the report, State Senator Craig Wilcox (R-McHenry), who sits on the Legislative Audit Commission, issued the following statement:
“Throughout the pandemic and beyond, Governor Pritzker and members of his Administration have done everything they can to keep information regarding the depth of dysfunction at IDES hidden. Now, thanks to an audit requested by Republican Senator Chapin Rose, we have more answers about the level of wrongful payments made by IDES from 2020-2022, and the issue was much worse than anyone thought. “This audit shines a light on the complete incompetence of Governor Pritzker’s Department of Employment Security during the pandemic. The worst part is that a lot of this $5.24 billion in overpayments was preventable. If the Pritzker Administration had insisted on a proper eligibility review of each application and adopted federal fraud-prevention guidelines, they would not have been issuing payments to fraudsters who stole identities or filed as people who were deceased or in prison.
“The Governor and top officials at IDES never took responsibility for their sloppiness and have yet to apologize to the hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans who were affected by their incompetence. At a time when the people of Illinois needed their government most, Governor Pritzker and his officials at IDES failed them. Instead, taxpayers and businesses are now left on the hook to pay for the incompetence and gross negligence of this Administration. The people of Illinois deserve much better.”