Pandemic Watchdogs Could Soon Get a Bigger Bite
There has been no shortage of news this month, so it is understandable that a major presidential proposal garnered relatively little attention at the time. On March 2, the President proposed a sweeping pandemic anti-fraud initiative that is designed to give key oversight bodies additional tools to investigate and prosecute those who defraud the pandemic relief programs that collectively injected trillions into the then-teetering economy to support struggling families, workers, and businesses.
When these relief programs were initiated three major oversight bodies were created to combat pandemic relief-related fraud, a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic; a new Office of Inspector General, the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (or “SIGPR”); and the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (or “PRAC”), a consortium of existing Offices of Inspectors General whose agencies took part in pandemic relief programs. To complement the work of these bodies, the Department of Justice created COVID-19 Fraud Strike Force Teams, a COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force, and a “Chief Pandemic Prosecutor” was named.