Accusations of Unethical Practices + Policy Conflicts RE: Outsourcing VA Services
Around February 14, 2018, the VA Investigator General published findings that Secretary David Shulkin misused VA funds during a summit trip to Europe in April 2017. The IG report is an interesting read, and it is available here. The details in the report are very important, and I urge everyone to visit the site and read the executive summary to understand fully all the facts that exist to support the IG’s conclusions.
There were three primary problems surrounding the trip, but the most incriminating one was the issue surrounding money used to pay for Secretary Shulkin’s wife’s travel. The IG found that Secretary Shulkin’s Chief of Staff made false representations to VA ethics officials who approved the use of VA money for the trip. Furthermore, Secretary Shulkin’s Chief of Staff altered an official record, resulting in VA improperly paying for Secretary Shulkin’s wife’s travel expenses.
This impropriety damages the VA’s reputation when veterans are waiting years for decisions on their appeals. Many veterans argue that the VA is under-funded given the high volume of work the agency performs. When money is squandered for unethical travel, the aggravation veterans feel, who are waiting for VA services, is well justified. If the VA wants to regain the trust of nearly 500,000 Hoosier veterans, then strong and ethical leadership will be necessary.