Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst has called for an investigation into federal employees who have been working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, saying that they should be held “accountable” for their actions.
In a statement on Friday, Ernst said the federal government had been “allowing its employees to ‘work from home’ during this crisis,” and she questioned whether “these remote employees are getting their work done.”
“The Senate is watching, and if I find any government employees or contractors taking advantage of working remotely for their own personal agendas or benefit, I’ll be letting the appropriate authorities know about it,” she said. “We’re coming after them.”
The senator’s office did not provide specifics on how Ernst plans to investigate the situation, and Ernst did not mention any organizations or individuals by name. It is unclear if the senator is referring to existing government oversight or if she is looking to launch an investigation of her own.
Regardless, the statement is likely to fuel concerns that federal employees and contractors could be working less than they should while still being paid during the coronavirus pandemic. Government workers have endured pay cuts and furloughs along with the general public, while some workers, such as those in health care, have seen salary increases.