February 2021 Squeal Award: Public Health Preparedness Budget a Piggy Bank for Bureaucrats
Ernst cracks down on illegal raids of the nation’s pandemic fund 

How does spending millions of dollars on office furniture moves and legal services help stop a global pandemic?

It doesn’t. In fact, it leaves us less prepared.  

These are just two of the questionable, and illegal, ways the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – the agency charged with protecting our nation from public health emergencies – misspent taxpayer dollars during the decade leading up to the coronavirus pandemic.

This was no accident, folks. The culprits knowingly wasted your tax dollars then misled Congress about it.

Due to a whistleblower, the scheme was uncovered in which a high level official at HHS regularly raided the budget of the department that is in charge of developing public health countermeasures, like vaccines. Bureaucrats were abusing this department as a type of piggy bank to pay for other, unrelated purposes, like news subscriptions and salaries for employees who did not even work in the department! 

We aren’t talking about a few dollars here and there, folks. This was a “widespread and well-known” scheme involving tens, possibly hundreds of millions of dollars over a decade, according to a report by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. 

Another name for it is “criminal.” In fact, the HHS Office of Inspector General determined this misuse of funds is a flagrant violation of federal law

For lying to Congress, misspending millions of taxpayer dollars, and putting the health of Americans at risk, I am awarding my February 2021 Squeal Award to the criminal bureaucrats who got caught stealing from us taxpayers.

I am also introducing the Federal Actors Lying Should be Eliminated (FALSE) Act to fire federal employees who knowingly misspend taxpayer money and falsify information provided to Congress and taxpayers about how your hard earned dollars are being spent.

Washington needs to understand once and for all, it is not just how much you spend, BUT HOW YOU SPEND IT! In the Senate, I’ll continue fighting to ensure transparency, accountability, and results for every dollar Washington takes and spends.

Do you have an example of government waste or inefficiencies that I should take a look at? Send me an email by clicking here.

Thank you!