Like the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz pointing in two different directions at once, it seems that our Governor is doing the same thing regarding the recent revelation that $3 billion was lost due to IDES (Illinois Department of Employment Security) unemployment fraud related to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PUA). When asked about the damning audit report by the Auditor General’s office, the Governor quickly dodged any accountability:
“It’s the Fed’s fault!“
“It’s Rauner’s fault!”
Both at the same time? Maybe the former acting director of IDES, Kristen Richards, now Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, be to blame? She was Pritzker’s appointee who never put controls in place to identify whether claimants were actually unemployed or even were the person that they claimed to be. Further, she asked for millions in security upgrades which the General Assembly granted during the crisis.
Where did that money go? And worse, IDES would not or could not identify the amount of fraud after bipartisan calls to do so.
Yup – bigger government – that’s what we all need? Not so much. Is it any surprise why I can’t get the song “If They Only Had a Brain” out of my head?