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Inspector General: Aide to V.A. chief altered email to cover cost of Europe trip

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posted on Feb, 14 2018 @ 09:35 PM
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I usually just roll my eyes at the UNPRECEDENTED corruption and bilking of taxpayer dollars TRUMPS CHOSEN APPOINTEES have engaged in.

I have reached irony over-load with the "Drain The Swap" nonsense.

And loathe to post facts here on ATS knowing the hypocrisy and BS defenses I can expect if any of the corruption is pointed out.

BUT THIS....THIS is too much.

Veterans Deserve BETTER.
Watchdog: Aide to V.A. chief altered email to cover cost of Europe trip



Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin's chief of staff falsified an email so that the secretary's wife could accompany him and his staff to Europe last year at taxpayer expense, according to an internal watchdog's investigation released Wednesday.

...

According to the report by the V.A.'s Office of Inspector General (OIG), Vivieca Wright Simpson, the chief of staff, altered a subordinate's email to misrepresent the purpose of the 11-day trip so that Shulkin's wife, Merle Bari, could be reimbursed by the government.

...

The V.A. delegation for the Europe trip included Simpson, Bari, a V.A. official who has since left the agency, and aide James Gough. Six members of the secretary’s security detail also went along. The estimated total cost came to $122,334.

Only three-and-a-half days of the 11-day trip were used for official business, the report said.

In London, the couple visited Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, took a cruise, visited St. Paul’s Cathedral and Windsor Castle, among other places.


Also here:
Internal watchdog report finds that Veterans Secretary improperly accepted Wimbledon tennis tickets and likely wrongly used taxpayer money during trip to Europe
www.businessinsider.com...


Inspector general: VA Secretary Shulkin's chief of staff altered email for wife's expenses
www.cnn.com...


In one June 2017 email, Bari wrote to Gough:

"Is there earlier flight from Copenhagen? Wimbledon tickets? High tea? Roman baths in [B]ath. Would want to do baths not just tour."



The aide had to explain to her that Bath England was touring ruins, not actually "baths".

God help us.
Drain the Swap anyone?

Here you go folks! An honest to God ACTUAL Inspector General Investigation WITH a conclusion.

AND nothing will be done...cuz the GOP own all branches of government.

edit on 14-2-2018 by soberbacchus because: (no reason given)




posted on Feb, 14 2018 @ 10:00 PM
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a reply to: soberbacchus

When they get caught like that it should be immediate firing and banned from future federal service.

It wont happen, there is a laundry list of people caught cheating the system in the VA, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars and even when the powers tried to fire them the union got them put back on the payrolls.


Off the top of my head I am not aware of a single firing that has actually stuck... I hope there is one out there, but I don't think there is.



posted on Feb, 14 2018 @ 10:21 PM
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I'm a little confused about who did what. Call me dumb, that's fine, but could you explain it more clearly than the article snippets did?

And do they show the actual emails? Show us what was altered?

I'm not doubting that it happened- and it's disgusting (and what an idiot, with the baths comment). I just want to understand better what happened.
edit on 14-2-2018 by KansasGirl because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 15 2018 @ 05:15 AM
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Sounds like it was the typical way of turning a business & pleasure trip in to a business trip only.

To be fair regarding the baths, the main Roman bath is still fully working but they don't allow access to water for 'health and safety' reasons. There are other baths nearby that run off the same hot springs that are usable.



posted on Feb, 15 2018 @ 05:36 AM
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Fraud is not taken ligjtly id hope.

Firing doesnt seem to cut it when you alter forms for personal gain. Its called fraud and embezzlement in my industry. And carried jail time



posted on Feb, 15 2018 @ 07:56 AM
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originally posted by: KansasGirl
I'm a little confused about who did what. Call me dumb, that's fine, but could you explain it more clearly than the article snippets did?



David Shulkin, Secretary of the Veterans Administration, Appointed by Trump Feb. 2017.

He spent over 100K on a trip to Europe For he and his wife.




And do they show the actual emails? Show us what was altered?



In short, if a Minister or Senior Official of another nation invites you to an official reception etc where spouses are expected to attend, the US gov will pay for the Wife's travel.

If there is no "official" reason for the wife to come along, then the US government expects you to pay for the wife.

Secretery Shulikin's Wife went ahead and booked a whole tour of Europe, treated the VA aides like her travel agents and they submitted everything to be paid by the US government.

To pull this off...They FAKED an email saying they had a confirmed invitation to a ceremony with an Ambassador, forwarded it to the finance department..and THEN scrambled to try and line up an official ceremonial meeting with that Ambassador where a wife might be expected to attend.

To understand just how ENTITLED the Secretary of the VA's wife felt, check out some of the emails she sent to the VA staff:



SEC VA WIFE (Dr. Bari)
“Is there earlier flight from Copenhagen? Wimbledon tickets? High tea? Roman baths in [B]ath. Would want to do baths not just tour.”

..


RESPONSE: Dr. Bari – are you free for a call? This is what the Sunday trip would look like to Windsor and Bath. If you’re good with this, please let me know so that I can send this day to all the security teams for them to get to work on…Everything from Trip Advisor to the actual website has the Roman Baths being ruins, and you aren’t able to get in them. It’s more of like walking through ruins. I’ve tried looking around the town of Bath to see if there is a spa that would allow you to do this, but haven’t been successful. Is there something you found that I didn’t?

VA Wife's Response : “Call me later but i dont think this will work”

www.vox.com...

This is ALL taxpayer money budgeted for Veterans.

Also here:


But the inspector general found that chief of staff Simpson doctored a June 2017 email while arranging the trip to make it seem as if Shulkin was definitely receiving an honor at the US Embassy in Copenhagen — which would help justify Bari’s travel on the VA’s dime. In fact, the event wasn’t confirmed.




edit on 15-2-2018 by soberbacchus because: (no reason given)

edit on 15-2-2018 by soberbacchus because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 15 2018 @ 08:06 AM
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originally posted by: bigfatfurrytexan
Fraud is not taken ligjtly id hope.

Firing doesnt seem to cut it when you alter forms for personal gain. Its called fraud and embezzlement in my industry. And carried jail time


100k+ Grand of Veterans Money so he and his wife could tour Europe on the taxpayer dime.

THIS was how his Aide Simpson forged emails to get it paid:



Here’s the email Gough wrote (“SECVA” refers to Shulkin):

“We’re working on having a dinner at the US Ambassador’s Residence in honor of SECVA but that has not been confirmed by US Embassy Copenhagen yet.”

Here’s how Wright Simpson altered it before forwarding it to a VA ethics official, who would have to approve Bari’s travel expense:

“We’re having a special recognition dinner at the US Ambassador’s Residence in the honor of SECVA(VA Sec Shulkin)”


They toured Windsor Castle, attended Wimbleton, upgraded flights, a coupleg rand just for early check-ins etc. etc. Security Team costs.

Even after cooking the books as best they could the IG could only find 3 of the 11 days that involved any meetings that could be considered official.




edit on 15-2-2018 by soberbacchus because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 15 2018 @ 08:23 AM
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originally posted by: ss002
Sounds like it was the typical way of turning a business & pleasure trip in to a business trip only.



Not sure what you mean.

Sidenote: Did you just register to make this post? Nothing wrong with that, but noticed this was your first post?



posted on Feb, 15 2018 @ 08:27 AM
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originally posted by: bigfatfurrytexan
Fraud is not taken ligjtly id hope.

Firing doesnt seem to cut it when you alter forms for personal gain. Its called fraud and embezzlement in my industry. And carried jail time


And no...Not in the Trump Administration with GOP having unilateral control of government.

It's a candy store for criminals.

they can just tell the IG to eff off.



Shulkin told the inspector general’s office that his wife had planned to pay for her own airfare and travel, but that staff told him the VA would cover it.

Simpson told investigators she didn’t recall changing the email, then declined to answer directly and said she responded “appropriately.”

According to the Washington Post, Shulkin never received an award.

www.vox.com...

And that is THAT..
Don't recall changing the email...what are you going to do about it.



posted on Feb, 15 2018 @ 09:33 PM
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a reply to: soberbacchus

I have seen this type of thing from the inside.

The people who make their way to these positions do so because they are terrific at making their way to these positions. That is the goal. Whatever they are supposed to be doing there matters little. They are usually not qualified anyway so who cares?

With that mindset comes a values-neutral approach to spending other peoples money. Their world is all they see. The money, the planes, the aides, etc. is there for them. So does the SECVA's behavior seem unreasonable in this light?

You may ask why doesn't anyone call them on it? Well, part of securing these positions is insulating themselves from scrutiny. Toadies and the brainless make up a large part of their direct staffs.

I'll stop now. Blood pressure getting to high.



posted on Feb, 15 2018 @ 09:40 PM
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a reply to: soberbacchus

Shulkin was VA’s Under Secretary for 18 months before he became Secretary. So, it's not like Trump pulled him off the streets. What this guy did was not Trump's fault, so please stop making it seem that way. (Although I have realized that there are some people who like to try to blame everything that anyone does on Trump.)



posted on Feb, 16 2018 @ 09:30 AM
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originally posted by: BlueAjah
a reply to: soberbacchus

Shulkin was VA’s Under Secretary for 18 months before he became Secretary. So, it's not like Trump pulled him off the streets.


??? Trump interviewed, chose and appointed him, promoting him to lead the VA.
Further more, the WH has remained silent on the issue and has doled out ZERO consequences for the fraud and embezzlement of Veterans funds.

What happened to the party of personal responsibility?


What this guy did was not Trump's fault, so please stop making it seem that way.


He was chosen and works for Trump. It is absolutely Trump's responsibility and Trump allowing the Fraud and Corruption without consequence makes him fully responsible as any Mob Boss.



posted on Feb, 16 2018 @ 10:00 AM
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a reply to: soberbacchus

If it were me doing it, i'd go to prison.

Complete BS.

I notice the thread isn't getting any attention, either.



posted on Feb, 16 2018 @ 10:13 AM
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originally posted by: bigfatfurrytexan
a reply to: soberbacchus

If it were me doing it, i'd go to prison.

Complete BS.

I notice the thread isn't getting any attention, either.


Good point.

This is on the only subject I'll jump on the drain the swamp bandwagon. If Trump accomplishes anything during his presidency, I really hope he reforms the VA.

Too many in the VA sitting with their thumbs up their arse just waiting for their paycheck on the 1st and 15th like clockwork. The State of California takes the Cake when it comes to VA official corruption.



posted on Feb, 16 2018 @ 10:21 AM
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originally posted by: odzeandennz

originally posted by: bigfatfurrytexan
a reply to: soberbacchus

If it were me doing it, i'd go to prison.

Complete BS.

I notice the thread isn't getting any attention, either.


Good point.

This is on the only subject I'll jump on the drain the swamp bandwagon. If Trump accomplishes anything during his presidency, I really hope he reforms the VA.



Incompetence in the VA (Whatever political party is responsible) is intolerable.

Of all the things government is responsible for, caring for those that sacrified their health, limbs etc for their country is not something it is ever Ok to fail at.

But, corruption and fraud at the VA rises to a new level with me. The Head of the VA taking European vacations with Veterans money while they desperately wait for care or are told that quality artificial limbs are just too expensive?
Forging emails to cover the expenses? The vacation was 100K+!

God help me..this guy has gotta go. Ideally to prison, but definitely kicked tot he curb ASAP.



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