The government reportedly paid 32 federal employees during the shutdown by accident, then told them not to spend it

government shutdownMelina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

  • The government accidentally paid 32 federal employees from the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board and Interior Department during the shutdown, The Washington Post reported.
  • The Interior Department, whose employee made the error, immediately tried to claw back the funds.
  • The employees' bosses also told the workers not to access the funds as the government tried to take back the payments.
  • Some 800,000 federal employees are living without pay because of the shutdown.

The federal government accidentally paid 30 employees amid the government shutdown, then told them not to access the funds so it could get the money back, The Washington Post reported.

The Interior Business Center, an Interior Department division that processes federal workers' paychecks, made a clerical error and paid 30 furloughed employees at the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) and two others at the Interior Department on Friday morning, The Post said.

The CSB investigates chemical accidents and is based in Washington, DC. Almost everyone who works there has been furloughed during the government shutdown, which entered its 22nd day on Saturday and is now the longest-ever on record.

Read more: The government shutdown enters a record 22nd day as Trump, Democrats continue to battle over the border wall and 800,000 workers go without pay

government shutdown protest signU.S. federal government employees, contract workers and other demonstrators protest against the government shutdown in Washington, DC, on January 10, 2019.Carlos Barria/Reuters

Hours after the remittances were accidentally sent out, CSB bosses sent an urgent email telling employees they were trying to reverse the payment and warning them not to use the money, The Post reported.

"PLEASE DO NOT ACCESS THE FUNDS," it read, as cited by The Post. "We are working with IBC to determine how to remedy this situation and it is best if you don't access the funds."

government shutdown protest.JPGA demonstrator holds a sign, signifying hundreds of thousands of federal employees who won't be receiving their paychecks as a result of the partial government shutdown, during a &quotRally to End the Shutdown" in Washington, DC, on January 10, 2019.Carlos Barria/Reuters

An unnamed Interior Department official also told The Post: "We've called the banks to trace that money and work to pull it back."

The official also said the employees were accidentally paid because an Interior Business Center employee put in the wrong payroll code for the CSB and Interior Department employees.

INSIDER has contacted the Interior Department for comment.

Some 800,000 employees have gone without pay as President Donald Trump and Congressional Democrats continue to spar over the funding of Trump's desired border wall between the US and Mexico.

Many employees say they are scrimping, taking out loans, and seeking second jobs to cope with the unsteady situation.

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