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Ernst-Requested Audit Reveals Teleworking Bureaucrats Are Overpaid

Wasted funds are taxpayer theft.

WASHINGTON – Bureaucrats not showing up to work are being overpaid and avoiding accountability, according to new findings by an investigation requested by U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).

The Department of Commerce Office of the Inspector General’s report revealed that one in four of the department’s employees sampled had moved to areas with lower rates of pay but still received the higher pay rates associated with higher cost of living areas.

In light of these findings, the department has refused to truly address their deficiencies, even though if they fixed the problem, they could potentially save taxpayers millions.

The report revealed that:

  • 23% of employees sampled were getting overpaid;
  • Employees took nearly a year in some instances to update their duty station, which dictates their locality pay, costing $42,985 in overpayments;
  • The Department of Commerce can’t verify employees are showing up to the office as required; and
  • Commerce is declining to try and recover overpayments because they lack processes to make sure employees change their duty stations when they begin teleworking, citing that “bureaus do not have adequate controls in place to ensure changes in duty stations are initiated and processed in a timely manner.”


Since August 2023, Ernst has been demanding investigations into 24 federal departments and agencies to determine the impact of telework on the delivery and response times of services.

In December 2023, Ernst exposed that, almost four years after COVID-19 temporarily closed federal buildings, not a single government agency was utilizing even half their office space.