The Denver Post has more details today about a Veterans Administration whistleblower and an apparent lack of oversight with the VA:
A former high-ranking federal Veterans Affairs official responsible for overseeing the troubled Aurora medical center complex figures prominently in a whistleblower’s claims that the agency misspent at least $5 billion yearly through illegal contracts and other purchases.
Whistleblower Jan Frye, VA’s deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and logistics, alleged in a 35-page letter to the VA secretary that a pattern of cover-up and indifference permeates all levels of the agency.
Frye accused Glenn Haggstrom, the former principle executive director of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Acquisition, Logistics and Construction, and others with intentionally trying to hide transactions in which the VA wrongly bought pharmaceuticals, medical devices and other goods and services without contracts that are required by federal law.
What about Congress? The Post heard from Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), the Chair of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
“Incredibly, VA leaders either didn’t know or just didn’t care about the damage Haggstrom was doing,” Miller said in a statement to The Post. “In fact, they rewarded him for his reign of incompetence with tens of thousands in bonuses year after year after year.”
Hmmm…it seems like there should be a group of people…heck, a subcommittee even, who could provide a layer of oversight and protection for this sort of thing…
It also seems like this would be a good place in an article to insert the perspective of a Colorado resident with knowledge of the subject…
Alright, as you probably know, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) is not only a member of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, but is also the CHAIRMAN OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND INVESTIGATONS. Oddly enough, Coffman just happens to represent the district which contains the $1.73+ billion Aurora VA Hospital boondoggle. It is a minor miracle that Coffman has largely managed to avoid any tough follow-up questions on a VA Hospital project mess occurring in his own backyard.
The tone and substance of this latest whistleblower report may have changed that, and from what we’re hearing of national media requests surrounding this story, Coffman may be getting a bit uncomfortable.
A whistleblower gets people to look up the ladder, wherein people start checking for names of the supervisor’s supervisors. It doesn’t take but a few steps up that ladder before you realize that the VA Hospital Project is in the home district of the Congressman who is the chair of Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee. That makes Coffman more than just interesting — it makes him a great headline: Aurora Hospital Boondoggle is in Oversight Chair’s Home District!
Unfortunately for Coffman, that’s when the questions get sour. How is it that the Oversight Chairman let this happen in his own backyard?