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CVA Calls for Resignation of Senior VA Officials Involved in New Bonus Scandal

By Concerned Veterans for America


ARLINGTON, Va. –Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Executive Director Russ Duerstine issued a statement following the news about the latest scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) involving $11M in bonuses being improperly handed out to VA executives from earmarked funds meant to facilitate processing billions in new veterans’ claims. 

The report from the VA’s Inspector General found that both Undersecretary of Health Shereef Elnahal and Undersecretary of Benefits Joshua Jacobs at the Department of Veterans Affairs misused PACT Act funds to grant bonuses to 182 VA executives – directing critical dollars away from veterans’ care. 
Russ Duerstine, CVA’s Executive Director, had this to say about misuse of funds meant to help veterans: 

“Under the Biden administration and VA Secretary Denis McDonough, the VA is failing our nation’s heroes by not holding top officials accountable to do their jobs with integrity and uphold the VA’s mission to treat the veterans they vowed to serve. 

Following the tenth anniversary of the original Phoenix VA scandal, we are seeing some of the same issues plague the bureaucratic VA health care system. We know the current administration has acted as a barrier to veterans trying to access community care. Now we also have proof the VA is riddled with perhaps the worst malfeasance we’ve seen in over a decade. 

In light of the recent bonus scandal, the message to Secretary McDonough and VA leadership is clear: VA officials must be held fully accountable for their actions.  We’re calling for both Undersecretary Elnahal and Jacobs to resign from their positions immediately.  Leaders who do not honor the public trust need to be held accountable. At a minimum, veterans deserve to feel confident that the VA system can allocate funds properly.” 


The gross misconduct revealed during the 2014 Phoenix VA Scandal drove Congress to pass 2017 legislation designed to hold VA employees accountable for their performance and to protect whistleblowers. Unfortunately, the law was mired in litigation and undermined by the decisions of federal agencies before the VA stopped enforcing it altogether. The proposed Restore VA Accountability Act of 2023 reinstates the will of Congress by holding VA Senior Executives, Supervisors, and Employees accountable for providing the quality and timely care veterans have earned, while also protecting whistleblowers trying to improve the VA. Specifically, the legislation would: 

  • Ensure VA decisions supported by substantial evidence are upheld on appeal. 
  • Eliminate red tape that forces supervisors to keep poorly performing employees or those who have clearly committed misconduct on the payroll for months. 
  • Create a level disciplinary playing field by allowing expedited removals of all categories of VA employees, while still respecting due process.