Southwest Washington’s state Sen. Jeff Wilson is calling for a hearing on the massive fraud case that rocked the Employment Security Department (ESD) last year. The move comes after a recent investigation that suggested the fraud could actually cost the state $1.1 billion, as opposed to the $640 million originally reported.
“This started a full year ago, and so far the Legislature has taken no action. When I came aboard in January, I heard from dozens of constituents who were still waiting for their first checks,” Wilson said in a press release. “We should have been talking about this months ago. Now that the state auditor is telling us this fraud is even bigger than anyone imagined, further delay is tantamount to sweeping the matter under the rug.”
Wilson is asking that the Senate State Government and Elections Committee — on which he is the ranking Republican — convene a work session on the fraud after the legislature convenes.
Wilson also suggested this week that the committee holds a work session on the governor’s emergency powers, which have been heavily critiqued by Republican lawmakers during the pandemic. A hearing on that topic will likely be held in November.
Legislative committees regularly hold meetings in the summer and fall, before the next legislative session begins.