ICYMI: Walorski Questions VA Officials on Alleged Misuse of Taxpayer Funds

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Votes to subpoena VA employees to provide testimony on VA relocation program

WASHINGTON D.C. – During a House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing earlier today, Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) questioned the Deputy Inspector General at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Linda Halliday, during a hearing detailing alleged abuse by two VA executives accused of manipulating their positions to get jobs and various incentives, part of an ongoing problem identified by the VA Inspector General.Last month, the Inspector General’s office reported two VA senior executives manipulated the agency’s relocation-expense system for $400,000 in questionable reimbursements, with taxpayers paying $300,000 for one of the employees to relocate 140 miles.

“I would call this report a crisis in confidence,” Walorski said to Halliday during the hearing. “My office phone rings every single day with calls from veterans in Indiana’s Second District who need our help in mitigating a system and bringing down the mountains of bureaucracy just so they can access the basic services that they were promised by the government when they signed up to go fight for our freedoms. We have to hold additional people accountable and make sure that the actions of the senior executives of the VA are absolutely transparent to the American public.”

The report stated, “the two executives, Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves inappropriately used their positions of authority for personal and financial benefit when they participated personally and substantially in creating opportunities for their own transfers to positions they were interested in filling”. Rubens and Graves kept their salaries of $181,497 and $173,949, respectively, even though the new positions they took as directors of the Philadelphia and St. Paul, Minnesota, regional offices had less responsibility, overseeing a fraction of the employees at lower pay levels.

Watch Walorski’s questions here or click on the image below.

The hearing today, “An Examination of the VA Office of Inspector General’s Final Report on the Inappropriate Use of Position and the Misuse of the Relocation Program and Incentives” included testimony from the VA’s only witness, Ms. Halliday.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Committee on Agriculture.

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