Monday, January 11, 2016

VA execs finally demoted for scamming system, but lawmaker asks why no charges brought

The Department of Veterans Affairs said Friday two high-ranking officials were finally demoted in response to a federal probe that found they manipulated the agency's personnel system for their own gain, but a key lawmaker is asking why they weren't prosecuted.
Federal prosecutors announced on Christmas Eve that they would not pursue charges in the case, but the Justice Department has not responded to Rep. Jeff Miller's inquiry into why no charges will be filed.
On Friday, the Department of Veterans Affairs said in a statement that it took "final action" to "demote" two Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Senior Executives to General Schedule positions.
Diana Rubens, director of VBA’s Philadelphia regional office, and Kimberly Graves, director of VBA’s St. Paul regional office, have been assigned to assistant director positions at other VBA regional offices, the VA said.
"These actions were originally initiated in October 2015 but had to be redone to correct an administrative error," the statement said.
Miller, R-Fla., and chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, is pressing U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch for answers surrounding Graves and Rubens, who got $300,000 in taxpayer money for her home when it did not sell.
In a Dec. 22 letter penned to Lynch, Miller wrote, "A Sept. 28, 2015, VA Office of Inspector General report recommended that the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia, pursue criminal charges against two VA executives it found to have abused their positions in order to take jobs with less responsibility, while keeping higher salaries."
"The report detailed how the VA executives pressured subordinates to accept position transfers only to volunteer for the vacated jobs while keeping their original salaries and having the VA pay them more than $400,000 in taxpayer relocation benefits," he wrote.

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