Budd Says $863 Million in Biden Stimulus Payments Went to 597,000 Prison Inmates

Budd Says $863 Million in Biden Stimulus Payments Went to 597,000 Prison Inmates
Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) speaks at a Make America Great Again rally in Greensboro International Airport, in Greensboro, N.C., on Oct. 27, 2020. (Grant Baldwin/AFP via Getty Images)
Mark Tapscott
Department of the Treasury data released by U.S. Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) reveal that at least $863 million in Economic Impact Payments (EIP) under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan went to more than 597,000 incarcerated individuals in 2021.

“Nearly 600,000 incarcerated individuals receiving upwards of $1 billion is a disgrace to hardworking taxpayers of North Carolina. What’s most appalling is that every Senate Democrat voted to allow these payments to prisoners on March 6, 2021,” Budd said in a June 10 statement making the information public.

“I firmly believe that taxpayer money should never be sent to individuals who are serving in federal prison for truly evil crimes like murder, terrorism, and rape,“ he said. ”Each and every taxpayer dollar is sacred and should be treated that way. The Biden administration needs to take responsibility for this massive misuse of taxpayer funds and Congress must hold them accountable.”

Budd explained that he first became interested in the issue when it was reported that convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was among millions of recipients of $1,400 EIP checks from the U.S. Treasury under Biden’s $1.9 trillion program that was approved by Congress in March 2021.

The Biden program was intended to help the economy recover from the dramatic slowdown that resulted in 2020 from the government’s COVID-19 measures, including bans on most indoor assemblies in businesses, mandatory masking, and social distancing.

The virus that many U.S. health experts believe was released in some as-yet unconfirmed manner from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology late in 2019 has reportedly killed more than 1 million Americans and more than 6 million people worldwide.

Budd, who is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, won a decisive victory on May 17 in North Carolina’s Republican U.S. Senate primary, defeating former Gov. Pat McCrory and former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker.

The primary attracted national media attention as it matched Budd, one of former President Donald Trump’s most reliable congressional allies, against the former governor, who is associated with anti-Trump establishment Republicans. McCrory had lost an extremely close reelection bid in 2016 to Democrat Roy Cooper.

McCrory lost the 2016 contest even as Trump carried North Carolina by nearly four points in the presidential contest against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) was easily reelected.

Walker, who before beginning his political career was a prominent Southern Baptist preacher, was first elected to the House in 2014. He announced in 2019, however, that he wouldn’t seek a fourth term, but would instead contest the 2022 Republican Senate primary. But his Senate campaign never caught on with enough North Carolina Republicans to make the GOP Senate primary a competitive three-way contest with Budd and McCrory.

Budd is now campaigning to defeat Democratic Senate nominee Cheri Beasley, the former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. Republicans contend Beasley is a far-left Democrat who is out of step with most North Carolinians.

In the Treasury response to Budd, Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Jonathan Davidson said the department was unable to answer the North Carolina Republican’s question regarding whether the checks were paid directly to the inmates, deposited by prison officials in the inmates’ individual jail accounts, or given to third parties such as family members.

“A query for the period beginning on April 2020 and ending on the date of this letter identified approximately 62,000 Economic Impact Payment paper checks valued at $74.6 million that were deposited in the Department of Justice’s Federal Bureau of Prisons prisoner trust fund accounts. Fiscal Service is not aware of inmate trust fund deposit practices at the state level, so it cannot answer the question as far as it relates to state prisoners,” Davidson told Budd.

“Finally, Fiscal Service disbursed third-round Economic Impact Payments to the payees identified by the IRS and it does not have access to data that would allow it to determine if a third-round Economic Impact Payment was disbursed to third-parties, including family members of an inmate.”

Davidson also told Budd that, due to a federal court decision, the Treasury Department was unable to deny payments to individuals solely on the basis of their being incarcerated in federal or state prisons.

Mark Tapscott is an award-winning senior Congressional correspondent for The Epoch Times. He covers Congress, national politics, and policy. Mr. Tapscott previously worked for Washington Times, Washington Examiner, Montgomery Journal, and Daily Caller News Foundation.
Related Topics