West Michigan Lawmaker Launches Investigation Into Unemployment Agency
Rep. Steve Johnson of Wayland, the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee in Michigan, is launching an investigation into the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency. The investigation comes on the heels of recent mistakes by the agency that may cost thousands of Michigan's residents thousands in dollars.
In light of multiple reports of significant issues at the Unemployment Agency, Chairman Johnson is demanding accountability, starting with legislative hearings and an investigation. Most recently an error was discovered that could cause nearly $650,000 Michiganders to have to pay back thousands in federal benefits.
In a statement on GOPHouse.org, Johnson says the investigation is overdue:
The Unemployment Agency has been a complete mess. From all the fraudulent activity occurring within the Agency to their latest letter to nearly 700,000 Michiganders potentially demanding they pay funds back, the UIA is a disaster and there needs to be leadership changes now. How about before asking people to pay funds back due to the state’s mistake, they ask former director Steve Gray to pay back his $86,000 hush fund payment.
The House Oversight Committee will be conducting hearings on the pattern of mismanagement, incompetence, and outright fraud within the Unemployment Agency. Officials from the UIA have previously appeared before the Oversight Committee, most notably in March of 2021 when the acting director was unable to provide a clear picture of how the agency was handling the rise in claims, and admitted that it had been over a month since her last meeting with the Governor.
Late last year, Marshall Republican State Representative Matt Hall was calling out Governor Gretchen Whitmer for the ongoing mess in the unemployment department. Specifically, for the Governor vetoing legislature appropriated funding of around $200 million to help shore up the department's depleted account to make sure people who needed out-of-work-benefits wouldn’t be left empty-handed after the huge fraud claims took a big chunk.