‘Sheriff Joe’ Biden Still Wants To Deputize Julie Su, Who Lost More Than A Fistful Of Dollars

Despite Previously Emphasizing That His Cabinet Must Use Tax Money ‘Efficiently And Effectively,’ The Biden White House Continues To Push For Julie Su, Who Presided Over $30 Billion In Unemployment Insurance Fraud, To Head The Department Of Labor


As President, ‘Sheriff Joe’ Biden Emphasized To His Cabinet The Need For Taxpayer Money To Be ‘Used Efficiently And Effectively’

REUTERS: ‘'Sheriff Joe' Biden Urges Cabinet To Ensure Fresh Spending Is Used Wisely’ (“'Sheriff Joe' Biden Urges Cabinet To Ensure Fresh Spending Is Used Wisely,” Reuters, 11/12/2021)

President Biden boasted Friday that he was known as ‘Sheriff Joe’ during the Obama administration when he was put in charge of supervising stimulus spending, and said he wants to protect against waste and fraud in administering his just-passed $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.” (“‘Sheriff Joe’: Biden Recalls Being Obama’s Stimulus Enforcer – But Forgets ‘09 Woes,’” The New York Post, 11/12/2021)

PRESIDENTJOE BIDEN: "One of our biggest responsibilities is to make sure the money is used efficiently and effectively…" (“'Sheriff Joe' Biden Urges Cabinet To Ensure Fresh Spending Is Used Wisely,” Reuters, 11/12/2021)

PRESIDENT BIDEN: “That’s what I want to talk to my cabinet about today: the high obligation and responsibility we all have to make sure this money is used wisely, used well and used for the stated purposes for the American people…” (“‘Sheriff Joe’: Biden Recalls Being Obama’s Stimulus Enforcer – But Forgets ‘09 Woes,’” The New York Post, 11/12/2021)

As Vice President, Biden Was Tasked With ‘Making Government More Accountable’

THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE: ‘Vice President Biden to Take on Making Government More Accountable’ (“Vice President Biden to Take on Making Government More Accountable,” Obama White House, 6/13/2011)

Today, the Vice President hosted an event at the White House where he announced that the President has asked him to take on a new role holding the Cabinet accountable for cutting waste in their agencies as part of the Administration’s ongoing effort to make government more accountable to the American people.(“Vice President Biden to Take on Making Government More Accountable,” Obama White House, 6/13/2011)

THEN-VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: “For too long the federal government has allowed billions of taxpayer dollars to be wasted on inefficiencies … today we are putting Washington on notice:  the President and I are committed to changing the way government works and we are stepping up the hunt for misspent dollars.(“Vice President Biden to Take on Making Government More Accountable,” Obama White House, 6/13/2011)


Displaying None Of Those Attributes, The White House Is Continuing To Push For Julie Su, Who Presided Over $30 Billion In COVID Fraud In California, To Join The President’s Cabinet As Secretary Of Labor

Julie Su ‘Oversaw The State’s Troubled Employment Development Department,’ Which Disbursed Over $30 Billion In Payments To Fraudsters During The Pandemic: ‘Organized Crime Rings And Prison Inmates Filed Thousands Of Fraudulent Claims For Benefits That EDD Readily Paid’

SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA), Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member: “[W]e should ask questions about how Ms. Su presided over a mismanaged California unemployment insurance program during the pandemic, and why California paid $31 billion in fraudulent claims while she chose to suspend the eligibility determination process. Some of these payments went to inmates and known domestic and international criminals. To put into context, DOL’s requested budget is $15 billion dollars and employs more than 17,000 people. This means that Ms. Su lost more than double the annual budget of the agency she will be responsible for managing in Washington D.C. This calls into question her qualifications as a manager.” (Sen. Cassidy, Remarks, 3/27/2023)

“President Biden on Tuesday nominated Julie Su to be his next Labor secretary … Before joining Biden’s Labor Department, Su served seven years as secretary of California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency. In that role, she oversaw the state’s troubled Employment Development Department, which is responsible for doling out unemployment benefits but struggled to manage a backlog of claims and to combat widespread fraud during the pandemic. The office received at least 26.4 million claims and paid out $180 billion in benefits from the beginning of the shutdown through last spring, and about $30 billion of those payments went to scammers, according to state officials.” (“Julie Su, Who Oversaw California Unemployment Agency Amid Fraud Wave, Nominated U.S. Labor Secretary,” Los Angeles Times, 2/28/2023)

Su Herself Admitted That California Distributed Over $30 Billion To Fraudsters And Scammers: ‘Criminals Took Advantage Of The Situation’

“California Labor Secretary Julie Su’s admission that her department spent up to $31 billion on fraudulent claims for jobless benefits has collided with White House plans to tap her for a key labor post, creating a potential liability for her promotion to the federal stage.” (“California Unemployment Fraud Woes Complicate Su’s DOL Hopes,” Bloomberg Law, 1/26/2021)

California’s State Auditor ‘Issued A Damning Report On The EDD’s Failings,’ With One Part ‘Directed At Su,’ Pointing To Her Decision To Stop Checking Eligibility For UI Benefits

“State Auditor Elaine Howle issued a damning report on the EDD’s failings, while pointing out that they had been evident for many years…. One passage of Howle’s letter was directed at Su. ‘In spring of 2020,’ it said, ‘the secretary of the Labor and Workforce Development Agency directed EDD to pay certain claimants UI benefits without making key eligibility determinations and to temporarily stop collecting biweekly eligibility certifications. Although both directives were designed to provide Californians with benefit payments as quickly as possible, the U.S. Department of Labor has not waived these requirements and, consequently, EDD now faces a very large impending workload of eligibility certifications that threatens its ability to operate effectively.’” (Dan Walters, “California’s Unemployment Insurance Mess Laid Bare,” CalMatters, 1/27/2021)

CALIFORNIA STATE AUDITOR ELAINE HOWLE: “EDD did not take substantive action to bolster its fraud detection efforts for its UI program until months into the pandemic, resulting in payments [as of January 2021] of about $10.4 billion for claims that it has since determined may be fraudulent because it cannot verify the claimants’ identities. Specifically, EDD waited about four months to automate a key anti-fraud measure, took incomplete action against claims filed from suspicious addresses, and removed a key safeguard against improper payments without fully understanding the significance of the safeguard.” (California State Auditor, “Significant Weaknesses in EDD’s Approach to Fraud Prevention Have Led to Billions of Dollars in Improper Benefit Payments,” Report Number: 2020-628.2, 1/28/2021)

CALIFORNIA STATE AUDITOR REPORT: “As claims began to surge in March 2020, EDD halted most of its work determining whether claimants were eligible for UI benefits…. [T]he Department of Labor determined that this decision likely compromised the integrity of California's UI program. In September 2020, the Department of Labor learned about EDD's decision to suspend many eligibility determinations. On December 4, 2020, the Department of Labor notified EDD that it believed those actions conflicted with a core tenet of the UI program, namely not paying benefits to ineligible claimants. It noted that without conducting eligibility determinations, EDD could not be certain that individuals are eligible for benefits and instructed EDD to immediately resume all eligibility determinations.” (California State Auditor, “EDD's Poor Planning and Ineffective Management Left It Unprepared to Assist Californians Unemployed by COVID?19 Shutdowns,” Report Number: 2020-128/628.1, 1/26/2021)


At A June 2023 House Education And Workforce Committee Hearing That She Attempted To Duck, Su Continued To Try Avoiding Taking Responsibility For The Over $30 Billion In COVID Unemployment Fraud In California

HOUSE EDUCATION AND WORKFORCE COMMITTEE CHAIRWOMAN VIRGINIA FOXX (R-NC): “Just look at her record of mismanagement as California’s Secretary of Labor: She lost $32 billion in taxpayer money to fraud and implemented legislation that devastated independent contractors. As Deputy Secretary of Labor, she has continued to put Big Labor interests over the rights of the American worker. Our economy does not need more of these same harmful policies on a national scale.” (“Su To Face House Grilling Even As Nomination Is Stalled In Senate,” Punchbowl News, 6/7/2023)

“Rep. Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, repeatedly asked Su, secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency from 2019 until mid-2021, when she became deputy U.S. labor secretary, whether she took responsibility for the more than $30 billion in fraudulent claims that jolted California’s unemployment insurance system. … Kiley struggled to get a straight answer. ‘Do you accept any responsibility for the unemployment fraud that occurred in California, yes or no?’ he asked at one point. ‘I think an unemployment insurance system that truly delivers in times of crisis should be the goal of everybody,’ Su replied.” (“Republicans Blame Labor Secretary Nominee For Massive California Unemployment Insurance Fraud,” Sacramento Bee, 6/07/2023)

  • “Kiley said he understood there were circumstances beyond her control, and asked Su again if she accepted responsibility. Su cited a state audit that identified two key reasons for the fraud, an unprecedented volume of claims as the COVID pandemic ravaged the economy, and a federal program without the usual safeguards. But Kiley pushed back by citing other conclusions from the auditor. In January 2021 the auditor wrote that ‘Despite repeated warnings, EDD did not bolster its fraud detection efforts until months into the pandemic.’ It also said EDD’s response to the fraud was ‘massive missteps and inaction.’ Su finally did concede some responsibility for the problems. ‘To be clear, congressman, I did not run the EDD. I was labor secretary of California. But several agencies fell under my purview. And I did take responsibility for our needs,’ she said. ‘There were desperate Californians who were very hard hit by closures, by the loss of their jobs, and relied on unemployment insurance.’” (“Republicans Blame Labor Secretary Nominee For Massive California Unemployment Insurance Fraud,” Sacramento Bee, 6/07/2023)

FLASHBACK: SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): “But of greater concern to me is your record in California, and this is something I’ve raised with you before, but the fact that under your lead, unemployment insurance payments in California of some $31 billion went to people who were basically receiving money on a criminal basis, illegally receiving money from the federal government, 31 billion! … That’s almost twice the total budget of the Department of Labor. Under your leadership in California, $31 billion was fraudulently paid out. Now, there’s a principle in all sorts of enterprises known as the ‘Peter Principle,’ which is people get promoted to a point where their competence is no longer been established. In this case, your record there is so severely lacking, I don’t know how in the world it makes sense for the President to nominate you to take over this Department. To work behind Marty Walsh is one thing, and to learn from him. But you haven’t had experience negotiating a major deal between unions and management, and your leadership of an enterprise resulted in $31 billion of fraudulent payments. What am I missing?” (U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee Hearing, 4/20/2023)

Su Attempted To Duck Her Appearance In Front Of The House Education and Workforce Committee

CHAIRWOMAN FOXX:Acting Secretary Su, I'd like to start by saying that you have been a hard witness to schedule! The Committee began working with the Department to secure your in-person testimony beginning in March. When you would not appear in May, we honored your request to appear in June using a date—June 7—that was offered by your staff, and to which you agreed. We have been more than accommodating to establish a mutual date for this hearing.  So why is it that on late Friday evening—following the Committee’s public posting of the hearing a week ago—your staff told us that you were 'no longer able to make June 7th work'?  What was so important that you were willing to stop the work of a Congressional Committee, upend the schedules of 45 Members of Congress, and leave the American people’s concerns unanswered? … Acting Secretary Su, you’re sitting here today only because I informed you that I would issue a subpoena to compel your attendance at this previously agreed to hearing and you reconsidered your cancellation. I am glad that you reconsidered that lapse in judgment. I am unaware of this Committee ever needing to consider such action for a department’s annual hearing until now. You cannot run from this responsibility. Congress and the American people have questions about how you’ve been running the Department.” (Chairwoman Virginia Foxx, Hearing Remarks, 6/07/2023)

Julie Su, her nomination as Labor secretary stuck in a reluctant Senate, testified before a Republican-led House committee last week only after being threatened with a subpoena that would have forced her to attend. Such appearances are usually routine. Top cabinet officials are expected to testify before congressional committees in the spring and summer about their agency’s work and budget needs for the coming fiscal year.” (“Labor Secretary Nominee Julie Su Was Reluctant To Testify Before Congress. Here’s Why She Did,” Sacramento Bee, 6/14/2023)

“Su’s appearance was originally was scheduled for last Wednesday. On the Friday evening before the hearing, three days after the committee sent out official notification that she would testify, Su tried to postpone, according to an email exchange between the Labor officials and committee staff that was reviewed by The Bee. House Education & the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx, R-North Carolina, reacted within three hours. Show up or I’ll issue a subpoena to compel your appearance, she directed her team to convey in an email to Su’s team. The next day, Su agreed to appear as scheduled.” (“Labor Secretary Nominee Julie Su Was Reluctant To Testify Before Congress. Here’s Why She Did,” Sacramento Bee, 6/14/2023)



Related Issues: Nominations, Labor