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As Gov. Gavin Newsom faces the growing threat of a recall, House Republicans from California said Friday his administration must answer for the state’s recent findings that $11 billion in state unemployment claims were fraudulent.

They pointed to the fraud, as well as the state’s announcement that an additional $19 billion in claims are under investigation, as reasons to be cautious before approving more federal dollars to support state unemployment programs.

In a joint letter, all eleven of the state’s House Republicans demanded Newsom release more details about the fraud, such as how the state will try to recover the money, how it will help victims of identity theft related to the scam and when the backlog of pending legitimate claims will be paid.

“California had the resources to combat rampant fraud in these unemployment assistance programs, and appears to have been warned repeatedly about the possibility of fraudulent unemployment assistance payments being made,” the lawmakers, led by Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Seal Beach), wrote. “Without any accountability mechanisms in place or plan to recover fraudulent COVID-related unemployment assistance payments, we fear that there will be a continued decline in taxpayers’ faith in California’s ability to administer other critical pandemic relief programs, such as vaccine distribution.”

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