Legislation has been introduced that would terminate federal employees who “knowingly and willfully misspend federal funds and lie to Congress and the public about how the money was spent” as stated in a press release on the bill.
The bill (S. 191) was introduced by Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) in response to recent news from the Office of Special Counsel about misappropriated funds by the Department of Health and Human Services that were intended for vaccine research. The funds totaled in the millions and were instead spent on things such as office furniture, administrative expenses, or news subscriptions.
The bill as currently written states that it would apply to any federal employee under these conditions:
- The employee violated section 1001 of title 18, United States Code
- The employee knowingly and willfully violated section 1301(a) of title 31, United States Code or caused such section 1301(a) to be violated
- The employee knowingly and willfully entered inaccurate data into the website established under section 2(b) of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (31 U.S.C. 6101 note).
“As we continue to battle the greatest public health emergency in recent history, it is appalling to learn that Washington bureaucrats have spent the last decade using money intended to respond to something like COVID-19 for their own personal piggy bank—wasting your money, instead, on moving fees and salaries. This is criminal, and it’s why Congress should take action to create more transparency and accountability and ultimately to help prevent future abuse of Iowans’ tax dollars,” said Senator Ernst.