Saturday, May 17, 2014

Cascade of scandals has Veterans Secretary Eric Shinseki fighting for his job

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Eric Shinseki’s troubles began with a "Patton" video.  Now the secretary of Veterans Affairs is facing charges that veterans are needlessly dying on his watch as the head of the largest civilian agency in the federal government.

Scandals have cascaded over Shinseki and the VA since the Washington Examiner revealed in August 2012 that $50,000 in taxpayer money was spent to produce a pair of video parodies that came to define the lavish spending at the two Veterans Affairs training conferences in Orlando.

Those conferences cost taxpayers about $6.1 million, of which as much as $762,000 was squandered on useless baubles like tote bags, pedometers and unnecessary travel, the VA inspector general later found.

Shinseki has been under near-constant fire since over long backlogs veterans face when filing disability claims, big bonuses paid to top executives and, in recent months, disclosures that patients are dying because of inadequate or delayed care at VA health facilities.
“It’s almost like playing Whac-a-Mole,” said Alex Nicholson, legislative director for the group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.  “VA is living crisis to crisis, and we are addressing them as they pop up. Sometimes we do a Band-Aid on them as opposed to healing the underlying wounds,” he said…..To Read More…..

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