Wehrli Renews Call for Deep, Independent Audit of IDES

Based on a scathing compliance audit of the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) that was released on July 7, State Representative Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) is renewing his call for a deep, independent audit of an agency he claims has failed Illinoisans at every turn during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“The contents of the Auditor General’s compliance audit reiterate what House Republicans have been saying for months,” said Wehrli. “The Auditor General found more than a dozen different instances where IDES failed to comply with state laws and regulations, and several of the findings were repeat offenses. It’s clear we need to dig deeper to get to the root of problems at IDES so we can identify areas for fundamental reform.”

As hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans continue to face extreme difficulty in applying for unemployment benefits, and after the personal information of more than 32,000 self-employed workers was published for all to see on the IDES web site, this spring Wehrli co-sponsored HR 860. The resolution would authorize an independent audit of IDES, but the Democrats who control the flow of bills refused to grant the legislation a hearing or vote. Wehrli said the Auditor General’s findings underscore the importance of this deeper audit.

“This regularly-scheduled compliance audit found 15 noncompliance issues with IDES’ operations, five of which were repeat findings from a previous financial audit,” said Wehrli. “This tells us that IDES knew they were not following the law and rules, yet took no steps to implement necessary changes to come into compliance.”

According to Wehrli, the 15 separate findings can be summarized into four main findings:

  1. The Department did not have adequate controls over the completion and submission of reconciliations relating to expenses, revenues, cash, and locally held funds
  2. The Department did not have adequate controls over its property and equipment and related records
  3. The Department did not implement adequate internal controls related to cybersecurity programs and practices
  4. The Department lacks security at the Metro South Regional office facility

“The timing of the issuance of the report on July 7 and the replacement of the Director of IDES on July 8 is also suspect,” added Wehrli. “When was the Governor tipped off about the scathing nature of the report that was about to be made public? Of greater concern, is that rather than replace the Director with an industry leader with the prescribed skillset to fix problems at IDES, Governor Pritzker instead gave the job to a political insider with no experience managing unemployment systems. He gave the job to the former Chief of Staff to Senate Presidents Don Harmon and John Cullerton.”

Wehrli concluded, saying, “The contents of the audit, combined with the Governor’s choice for a replacement at the helm of IDES is further proof that providing out-of-work Illinoisans with good customer service, and ensuring they receive prompt and accurate attention to their unemployment claims, is not a priority for this Governor or his administration.”