Chairman Miller Statement on Misuse of Relocation Program and Incentives
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Chairman Jeff Miller released the following statement regarding the VA OIG report on inappropriate use of position and misuse of relocation program and incentives in VBA.
“I am not surprised that the IG has confirmed our biggest fears about VBA’s relocation expenses program. The IG’s report proves that VA’s corrosive culture extends to the highest levels of VBA leadership and must be immediately rooted out once and for all. This report is simply the latest in a long line of investigations showing VA officials helping themselves instead of helping America’s veterans.
“Ms. Rubens and Ms. Graves were placed in positions of authority and given the trust of the American people to properly serve the men and women who have served our Nation. They have violated that trust and must be held accountable for their actions. I expect the U.S. Attorney’s Office will consider the criminal referral and if warranted, I would expect all parties to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Additionally, I am examining whether VA officials misled the Committee at the hearing on April 22, 2015, regarding Ms. Rubens’ relocation.
“It is clear from this report that Under Secretary Hickey and others in VA leadership knew they could use fear, intimidation, and timely relocation incentives to coerce subordinates to relocate to jobs they didn’t apply for at the taxpayers’ expense. These VA managers knew what they were doing and it is clear that from day one that VA officials were using the relocation expenses program to enrich themselves. The actions of the individuals uncovered by this report are a discredit to VA employees and veterans.
“I am especially disappointed in Under Secretary Hickey and other senior VA managers for approving these moves since they were not done in the interests of VBA’s mission but were instead in the best interests of the individuals, and unfortunately once again veterans and taxpayers were left footing the bill. I encourage Secretary McDonald to utilize every tool available to him to ensure that these VA managers and leaders are immediately held accountable for their actions.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs