Monday, June 27, 2022

Why the Trillions in COVID-19 Relief Money Led to billions in Fraud; EPA used COVID relief to fund environmental justice initiatives, and other C-Virus related stories

Why the trillions in COVID-19 relief money led to billions in fraud:
Raise your hand if you’re surprised that the trillions of dollars spent on COVID-19 relief gave way to billions of dollars in government waste, fraud and abuses. I’m not, but based on recent reporting, you might think this type of carelessness with taxpayers’ money has never before happened. Sadly, such waste and fraud are normal byproducts of most government programs.
Too much focus on waste and fraud misses a more important problem: Lots of the COVID-19 spending that doesn’t qualify as wasteful or fraudulent was nonetheless misspent.
When the pandemic hit the United States in March 2020, people all over the country panicked. Everyone seemed to agree that the right thing to do was pump the nation full of as much money as possible, as fast as possible. As a result, nearly everyone — married, unmarried, employed, unemployed, through businesses small and large — got cash through the $2 trillion CARES Act.
Some people did raise the potential for fraud. We were told that there was no time to put in place measures sufficient to prevent it. However, the CARES Act did create an oversight mechanism called the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee. The committee had a difficult task due to the enormous size of the relief bill, a hardship compounded by the fact that the program had to become functional before it could even start looking into the spending. Dollars were pouring forth fast from Washington, and the committee was basically behind from the start.
Then Congress added another two relief bills totaling around $3 trillion and including extensions of some programs implemented in the CARES Act. It’s now clear that an enormous amount of the eventual $5 trillion was spent “improperly,” and that some was downright fraudulent. --->READ MORE HERE
EPA used COVID relief to fund environmental justice initiatives:
The Environmental Protection Agency has directed millions of its funding under President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan toward environmental justice initiatives, many of which do not directly address the pandemic.
Fifty million dollars of the EPA's $100 million appropriation from the American Rescue Plan went toward environmental justice, $4.3 million of which was funneled to 34 local environmental organizations for car-sharing programs, tree "pruning workshops," climate resiliency education, and more.
Through the EPA's Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement Program, announced last year, each organization was awarded $200,000 to address "local environmental and/or public health issues in their communities," according to the program website.
SEED, one recipient organization in Knoxville, Tennessee, will use the funds to convene a "Climate Plus stakeholders task force" to address climate change, weatherization of homes, and energy efficiency. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

Mississippi man gets 30 months for COVID-related wire fraud

Despite Another Covid Surge, Deaths Stay Near Lows

USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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