WASHINGTON – Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, jumping off a Tampa Bay Times investigation into CareerSource, want Labor Secretary Alex Acosta to determine whether federal taxpayer dollars were misused.

From a letter released today:

Dear Secretary Acosta:

We write to alert you to a recent report in the Tampa Bay Times that alleges CareerSource Tampa Bay and CareerSource Pinellas have reported inflated job placement numbers to Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). Both entities, part of Florida's workforce system known as CareerSource Florida, receive federal funding through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) which is administered by DEO.

Utilizing WIOA funds, CareerSource Florida provides local services to job seekers, workers, and businesses through a statewide and regional network of workforce boards and career centers. These services are critical to millions of low-income individuals who need access to these education and training opportunities that prepare them for career success. While developing a strong workforce in Florida that is aligned with current business needs is a priority, those efforts are funded with taxpayer dollars, and your Department should ensure there are sufficient practices in place to deter fraud and abuse.

We understand both DEO and the Florida legislature have recently begun investigations into this matter. We believe the Department of Labor would be a welcome addition into this inquiry in determining whether federal taxpayer dollars were misused. Thus, we urge you to look into the allegations made in the Tampa Bay Times report and determine whether these CareerSource centers properly used federal dollars.