New reporting from NBC News reveals that the rampant fraud in Trump-era COVID-19 relief programs was even worse than initially reported — with at least $80 billion taxpayer dollars wasted and abused. Since the health crisis began, government watchdog Accountable.US extensively documented how the Trump administration’s COVID-aid mismanagement and poor oversight opened the door for fraud as they prioritized the rich and well-connected over actual struggling mom-and-pop businesses and their families.

In an interview with NBC News, Justice Department Inspector General and chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee Michael Horowitz said the pandemic relief programs were structured in ways that lacked “even minimal checks to make sure that the money was getting to the right people at the right time.”

The level of waste, fraud and abuse under the Trump administration’s COVID aid mismanagement was far worse than previously known, almost beyond imagining. The Trump administration’s decision to set up the program with virtually no oversight or transparency invited rampant fraud and abuse while it was busy prioritizing aid for wealthy publicly traded companies. Meanwhile, mom-and-pop shops that really needed help, particularly in communities of color, faced a wall of bureaucracy and rejection. The Biden administration should not only continue coming for these fraudsters, but there should also be accountability for wealthy people or publicly traded companies that took advantage of Trump’s lax guidelines to receive low-cost loans they didn’t need. It’s time they pay taxpayers back in full.” 

Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US

Accountable.US also offered interactive resources for the public to see how their tax dollars were being spent including and its PPP Fraud tracker. Accountable.US’ research showed that many businesses owned by people of color were unable to access a penny in PPP funds while fraudsters and hundreds of rich, publicly traded companies managed to jump to the front of the line, to the tune of billions of dollars.


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