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Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., pushed for more federal oversight of COVID-19 relief funds on Monday, saying that his own family was victim to fraud related to the Paycheck Protection Program.
“I think that a lot of money was wasted and stolen,” Durbin told reporters on Capitol Hill.
“I have a family example where my son was accused of defaulting on a $140,000 PPP loan for the Durbin construction company. There’s no Durbin construction company,” he said. “Somebody had stolen his identity and secured [a] $140,000 loan.”
Fraud related to PPP loans could be upwards of $100 billion, Department of Justice Inspector General and Pandemic Response Accountability Committee Chair Michael Horowitz told Fox News earlier this year.
The revelation about Durbin’s family came during a discussion about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flying 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard last week, which the Washington Post first reported was done using federal COVID-19 funds.
The American Rescue Plan set aside about $350 billion for states and local governments through the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund. Interest on earnings associated with Florida’s share of those funds, about $12 million, were appropriated to the Department of Transportation to implement a “program to facilitate the transport of unauthorized aliens from this state consistent with federal law.”
“The legislature gave me $12 million,” DeSantis said at a press conference on Friday. “We’re going to spend every penny of that to make sure that we’re protecting the people of the state of Florida.”
Sen. Durbin called the flights to Martha’s Vineyard a “political stunt.”
“He’s moving people from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard. For goodness’ sake that money should be spent at least for the people of Florida and for a good purpose.”