LANSING, Mich. — Senate Republican Leader Aric Nesbitt, R-Porter Township, released the following statement on Friday following the release of a fourth Office of the Auditor General report outlining failures by the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency to effectively serve residents who relied on its services and protect billions of taxpayer dollars against fraudulent overpayments between March 2020 to June 2022:
“Many Michiganders, through no fault of their own, lost jobs during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic response and relied on the UIA to help ease the burdens of unforeseen financial hardships. The people of Michigan deserve answers as to how billions of dollars were lost by the UIA to fraudulent claims.
“The question still remains as to why the UIA director decided to move the agency’s head of investigations and all 76 members of the investigation staff over to the benefits division to expedite payments and overexpose billions of public dollars to possible fraud, and whether the governor’s office agreed with that decision.
“While some UIA and executive office leaders try to downplay the auditor general’s continued findings on this subject, I will continue to do all I can to ensure proper oversight of this important state agency that people rely on. Michiganders deserve to have confidence that their unemployment agency keeps their personal information safe and effectively protects state dollars against costly fraud.”
Nesbitt first introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 29 in June 2020, calling for a financial and performance audit of the UIA. It was unanimously approved by the Senate.