Arlington, Va. —Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) today expressed outrage and demanded immediate action in response to details in emails uncovered by the House Veterans Affairs Committee (HVAC) – and reported on by the media. If the media reports on the details in the emails are accurate, then they show that the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) was directly pressured by Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors to improperly amend a report to say that the deaths of dozens of veterans who were on secret wait lists at the Phoenix VA hospital could not be conclusively linked to long wait times. This conclusion was widely criticized as a whitewash by independent experts.
VA Inspector General Richard Griffin denied in congressional testimony that he was influenced by either the White House or VA headquarters to include the conclusion about patient deaths in the final IG report on the Phoenix VA. However, the emails uncovered by the HVAC demonstrate that the White House, the VA’s leadership, and Inspector General Griffin lied to Congress and the American people about that interference. They also show that far from righting a wrong, the administration’s priority, from the designated fixer—Rob Nabors—on down, was to paper over the crisis and get it out of the headlines.
In response to this revelation of yet more misconduct and deception by the Obama administration and at the VA, CVA is insisting that three immediate actions be taken to address the continued lack of integrity within the administration, the VA, and the VA OIG:
- The immediate removal of Acting VA Inspector General Richard Griffin, and the appointment of a permanent and truly independent inspector general at the VA. Currently, Richard Griffin has been serving as Acting IG longer than the law allows, which demands immediate action from the White House.
- The resignation of Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson, who has been shown to be complicit in a whitewash ordered by the White House, as well as an unfortunate enabler of the toxic culture at the VA.
- The appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the politicization and manipulation of Inspector General reports at the VA and any other related federal government agencies.
“We are outraged – but utterly unsurprised – by this new evidence of improper manipulation of the final Phoenix VA IG report,” said Pete Hegseth, CEO of CVA. “If media reports on the details in the emails are accurate—which we have reason to believe they are—then it shows that the VA and the Obama administration are still not taking serious steps to fix the toxic leadership culture and institutional failures at the VA. This revelation is further smoking-gun proof that VA still needs serious reform, and they need it immediately.”
“We—and veterans and their families around the country—will be equally unsurprised if the administration and the VA fail to meet this week’s key benchmarks of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act. We will continue to demand accountability at the VA and demand that Congress, the White House, and the VA act to remove Richard Griffin from office, that Sloan Gibson resigns his position, and that a special prosecutor is appointed to investigate the politicization of inspector general investigations at the VA,” concluded Hegseth.
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Concerned Veterans for America is a non-partisan, non-profit, 501(c)(4) organization that advocates for policies that will preserve the freedom and liberty we and our families so proudly fought and sacrificed to defend.