Bucks County Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick, who also represents a sliver of the Far Northeast, is calling for a probe of the Philadelphia VA regional office. While earlier reports said the Philly VA scandal was primarily due to incorrect bookkeeping, it appears to run deeper: Two whistleblowers from the Philadelphia office said staff shredded boxes of mail. The VA Office of the Inspector General says it also has evidence that staffers changed dates on old claims to make them appear new.
“By manipulating claim dates, many of these employees and supervisors financially benefited,” Fitzpatrick said in a letter (pdf) to the FBI, the U.S. Postal Service, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “I urge you to consider opening an investigation into these allegations.”
Also, Fitzpatrick’s office today released whistleblower photos “that show boxes and filing cabinets containing unanswered correspondence from veterans at the Philadelphia Regional Office.”
According to a House committee hearing on Monday night, things got weird during an unannounced early-July visit by congressional staff to the Philly VA office.
According to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs chairman, during the visit staffers were placed in a room with an active camera and microphone. Then, a staffer saw a legal pad that used the following terms to describe the committee’s staff director, Rory Riley: “Arrogance” and “stick up her ass.”
— Tricia L. Nadolny (@TriciaNadolny) July 16, 2014
Many called for the Philly VA director, Diana Rubens, to be fired. While she’s been transitioning into the role for a while, Monday was her first official day on the job. Rough first week!