VA Awarded Itself $177 Million in Bonuses Despite Poor Performance
Arlington, VA – Bonuses for VA employees skyrocketed to $177 million in 2015, according to new data. Over half of the agency received a bonus and senior VA executives received an average of $10,000 each.
Among officials receiving bonuses: the former chief of staff at the ever-failing Phoenix VA and the executive director of VA’s Office of Construction who oversaw the Denver VA hospital construction fiasco.
The number of bonuses given in 2015 increased by over 20 percent from the previous year. The amount of money awarded jumped 24 percent – in 2014, VA officials awarded themselves $144 million in bonuses.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Vice President of Policy and Communications Dan Caldwell issued the following statement:
“Is the VA performing better? Objectively, no. But you wouldn’t know it by the way VA officials lavished themselves with millions in taxpayer-funded bonuses last year. This exactly is how government corruption happens – bureaucrats pat themselves on the back to justify padding their own pockets with taxpayer money. The bonus entitlement mentality at the VA should offend the veterans still struggling to receive basic health care as well as the hard-working American taxpayers propping up this broken system.
“Astonishingly, there are bureaucrats in Washington who want to remove bonuses caps at the VA through a bill misnamed the ‘Veterans First’ Act. Congress cannot allow another year to pass by without real limitations on how much taxpayer money VA officials can award themselves. Legislation like the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act would limit bonuses at the VA and end this culture of laziness and complacency one and for all.”
The VA has a history of being disconnected from its own poor performance. In 2013, all 470 senior executives and 99.7 percent of non-executive employees were rated as ‘fully successful.’
CVA supports legislation like the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act, introduced in the Senate by Senator Marco Rubio earlier this year. The legislation would make it easier to fire bad VA employees and would protect whistleblowers who speak up. It would also limit bonuses for VA officials.