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The VA's bad habit: Lying to Congress


The Department of Veterans Affairs may be developing a pattern of lying to members of Congress.

Late Wednesday, Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) became the second member of Congress to accuse the VA of lying to them directly when asked about problems related to the VA healthcare scandal.


Meehan was reacting to a report from the VA's Office of Inspector General, which would evidence of "deliberate misconduct" at the VA medical facilities in Philadelphia and Horsham, a town about 10 miles north of Philadelphia.

Meehan said that report goes against what he was told directly by VA officials when he visited those two facilities.

"I visited these facilities and I was repeatedly assured that the activities described in this report had not occurred," Meehan said Wednesday.

"I very specifically asked whether there was any evidence of deliberate falsification of data, manipulation of appointment dates or any other attempts to intentionally cook the books," he said. "The VA leadership present told me none of it occurred. This report proves they looked me in the eye and lied to me."

"At every turn, the VA has thwarted any attempt of honest, effective oversight," Meehan added. "The basis of any relationship is trust, but the misrepresentations made by the VA in Philadelphia have demonstrated a culture of cover-up and deceit. I expect the VA to identify those responsible. They should lose their positions of trust within the VA bureaucracy."

Earlier in the day, Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.) said on the House floor that officials at the Central Alabama VA system lied to her when they said officials involved in the scandal had been fired. Roby said it doesn't bode well for veterans when the VA feels emboldened to lie to members.

"If a member of Congress can't get a straight answer from the VA, imagine what our veterans go through every single day," she said.

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