CAGW Names VA Secretary Robert McDonald November Porker of the Month
Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Robert McDonald its November 2016 Porker of the Month for giving bonuses to some of the senior executives who were involved in the continuing hospital wait-times scandal.
Despite assurances by Sec. McDonald and President Obama that the wait-times scandal was isolated to Phoenix and that the department has solved the problem, numerous VA inspector general (IG) reports over the last year have confirmed that thousands of veterans still languish in the VA’s single-payer system. They are waiting for care mainly due to the department’s abject failure to solve its corrosive culture, which led to the scandal in the first place. Data released on June 3, 2016 found that the number of patients who have waited more than a month to see a doctor exceeded a half a million since the beginning of 2016, and no improvement was seen in any month so far this year.
In the face of this continued mismanagement, an October 28, 2016 USA Today report found that the VA had provided $177 million worth of bonuses to its nearly 189,000 employees in 2015. Included in that total were more than 300 senior executives, some of whom were intimately involved in the ongoing wait-times scandal at the Phoenix VA hospital as well as facilities nationwide.
In an April 7, 2016 USA Today investigation, some of these same officials in 19 states were exposed as routinely “zeroing out” wait times for veterans and concealing the true length of delays. Astonishingly, VA supervisors themselves instructed schedulers to fabricate wait times at medical facilities in seven states.
Sec. McDonald’s May 23, 2016 attempt to reassure veterans and taxpayers of his focus on reform failed in an epic fashion when he compared veteran wait times to lines at Disney theme parks. Those comments, along with the payment of bonuses to corrupt VA executives, seems to clearly illustrate Sec. McDonald’s flagrant disregard for reforming his beleaguered department.
CAGW President Tom Schatz said, “The thoughtless payment of bonuses to shady VA bosses is despicable. Sec. McDonald was heralded as a private-sector business leader who could turn around a troubled department. Instead, Sec. McDonald is even worse than a standard issue Washington bureaucrat. As I said after Sec. McDonald made his callous Disney comparison, he is Frozen in the past, and perhaps the fish from Finding Nemo need to be called on to help the VA find a new leader.”
For rewarding corrupt VA bosses and failing to ensure that veterans get timely care, CAGW names VA Secretary Robert McDonald its November 2016 Porker of the Month.
Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.