Vince Morris, Appropriations 202-224-1010
John Graffeo, Shelby 202-224-6518
WASHINGTON – Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and Vice Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) today in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder called on the Department of Justice to investigate the scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Mikulski and Shelby lead the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Subcommittee. The CJS bill that funds the Justice Department will be considered by the Committee next week.
“Veterans deserve better than delay and denial. The Senate CJS bill that we will recommend to the Appropriations Committee next week will provide the resources needed for criminal and civil investigations into allegations that the VA falsified patient records at centers and clinics across the country,” said Senators Mikulski and Shelby. “This scandal has dragged on over a decade. We believe the Department of Justice should begin investigations right away. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of Public Integrity, the United States Attorneys, and any other component within the Department should swiftly and definitively determine whether any current or former VA officials violated the law and bring any charges that might be appropriate.”
A signed copy of the letter is available here. The text of the letter follows:
May 30, 2014
The Honorable Eric Holder
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530
Dear Attorney General Holder:
We are deeply troubled by allegations that veterans may have suffered, or perhaps even died, due to lack of medical care as officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) kept patients languishing on secret waiting lists while maintaining false patient care records purporting to show that no such delays existed. Further, allegations that VA employees may have submitted such false records in order to justify their own receipt of performance bonuses suggest the possibility that deceit and mistreatment may also have been compounded by fraud.
These problems have dragged on long enough. We request that the Department of Justice immediately begin appropriate criminal and civil investigations into allegations that the VA falsified patient records at one or more of the VA’s 150 medical centers and 820 community outpatient clinics.
While we understand that the Department may already be working with the Inspector General of the VA on this matter, as the Chairwoman and Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, we believe the Department has the investigatory expertise and resources needed to swiftly and definitively determine whether any current or former VA officials violated the law and where appropriate, take action.
This tragedy has gone on far too long. Our veterans deserve justice not more delays.
Barbara A. Mikulski Richard C. Shelby
Chairman Vice Chairman
Committee on Appropriations Committee on Appropriations