Attorney General Eric Holder said this week that the Department of Justice currently has no plans to investigate Veterans Affairs hospitals over allegations of rampant fraud and corruption.
“Well, obviously these reports if they’re true are unacceptable, and the allegations are being taken very seriously by the administration. But I don’t have any announcements at this time with regard to anything that the Justice Department is doing,” Holder told reporters this week.
“This is something on our radar screen at this point, but there is an investigation being done by the [VA] inspector general, and we’ll see what happens as a result of that inquiry and other information that comes to light in some form or fashion,” he added.
The VA has been embroiled in scandal following allegations that at least two facilities, one in Phoenix and one in Fort Collins, Colorado, falsified data to hide long wait times for veterans seeking medical attention.
Reports of widespread mismanagement have prompted several lawmakers and veterans advocacy groups to call on VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to step down from his post.
“Recent revelations about avoidable patient deaths, delayed treatments, falsified records, secret waiting lists, and cancelled appointments, coupled with systemic IT security failures, project cost overruns, and a backlog that has more than doubled since 2009, clearly demonstrate widespread incompetence and a lack of transparency within the Department of Veterans Affairs,” 16 House Republicans said Monday in a letter addressed to President Barack Obama, demanding that the White House remove the VA chief immediately. “Enough is enough.”
The 16 House lawmakers have the backing of Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the senior Republican on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
“With all the problems the VA has had over the last several years, it’s time for new leadership,” Burr said earlier this month. “I have no hope you can accomplish any changes with the current regime.”
Lawmakers in the nation’s capital have also been joined by the American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans advocacy group, in calling for Shinseki’s resignation.
“As national commander of the nation’s largest veterans service organization, it is with great sadness that I call for the resignations of Secretary Shinseki, Under Secretary of Health Robert Petzel and Under Secretary of Benefits Allison Hickey,” American Legion National Commander Daniel Dellinger said.
Shinseki has so far resisted calls for him to step down, saying instead that that he serves “at the pleasure” of President Barack Obama.
The White House said in an email to TheBlaze last week that it “remains confident in Secretary Shinseki’s ability to lead the department and to take appropriate action based on the IG’s findings.”
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