Internal emails show Iowa's workforce agency provided unemployment benefits earlier this year to people who didn't seek them and that staff was urged to stay quiet about what had happened.
Iowa Workforce Development spokeswoman Kerry Koonce confirmed Wednesday that 85 people received excess unemployment payments in early March. Officials issued benefits to everyone who got them the previous week after a system malfunction meant they couldn't process updated information from recipients. Koonce stressed that about 30,000 received accurate payments.
Agency emails provided to the Iowa Senate Government Oversight Committee show that after the malfunction, a manager emailed some staffers instructing them to provide no information about what happened and to blame "technical difficulties."
The Oversight Committee is set to review what happened at hearings next week.