Breaking: VA official resigns in scandal

posted at 3:11 pm on May 16, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The first head has rolled in the expanding wait-list fraud scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Ironically, it belongs to the man who testified in the Senate that he wasn’t sure wait-list fraud was a firing offense:

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki said he accepted the resignation of his top health official on Friday, a day after the two testified before Congress about a growing scandal over deadly healthcare delays for veterans.

“Today, I accepted the resignation of Dr. Robert Petzel, undersecretary for health in the Department of Veterans Affairs,” Shinseki said in a statement.

In part, this may have been because Petzel wasn’t terribly good at his job:

Dr. Petzel testified before Congress last month that he had found no sign of the alleged list in the early stages of the investigation.

“To date, we found no evidence of a secret list and we have found no patients who have died because they’ve been on a wait list,” he said at a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on April 30. “If the allegations are true, they’re absolutely unacceptable.”

Since then, investigators have found evidence that the VA was made aware of the problem in March 2013, and again last November. That leaves Petzel in danger of an obstruction charge, especially since dozens of veterans have died waiting for service in at least one of these offices. As Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) asked at the time NBC reported the new timeline, it also raises the question of whether Shinseki knew about it and lied to Congress in his testimony — or was so incompetent that he missed the signs twice.

On the other hand, we now have more accountability at the VA than we did at State with Benghazi, or at Treasury with the IRS scandal. I’d guess that some administration officials are getting very worried about this particular probe.

Update: Worth noting, too, is that Petzel was already scheduled to retire later this year.


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So Sh*tSheki is still there?

ToddPA on May 16, 2014 at 3:16 PM

Resigned or retired – either way, we taxpayers will have yet another corrupt, incompetent bureauweenie to support with a huge pension and gold-plated benefits for the rest of his miserable life.

MicahStone on May 16, 2014 at 3:17 PM

Takes the fall for shitseki.

rightside on May 16, 2014 at 3:17 PM

Ironically, it belongs to the man who testified in the Senate that he wasn’t sure wait-list fraud was a firing offense

I won’t hold my breath that there will be any others.

Patriot Vet on May 16, 2014 at 3:17 PM

VA official resigns in scandal

Good, now sue his azz for all the homicides he has been responsible for by the VA

burrata on May 16, 2014 at 3:18 PM

He was already on the way out – Roll Call is reporting that a replacement was announced May 1st, Jeffrey Murawsky (head of Veterans Integrated Service Network). h/t boss emeritus on twitter

So, not really a resignation. more like shuffling the deck again.

PaperGirl on May 16, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Rush destroyed Shinseki today.

MikeInBA on May 16, 2014 at 3:19 PM

He should be immediately arrested and charged for his crimes. Criminal negligence and willfully colluding to ignore those federal time limits on appointment scheduling for those veterans should be at the top of the list of charges. Veterans are dead and many more suffered needlessly. He and all who colluded with him to cause those deaths should go to prison.

thatsafactjack on May 16, 2014 at 3:20 PM

I’m shocked that even an undersecretary took the fall. Usually, the administration and liberals laugh and gloat about how this stuff can’t touch them.

Doomberg on May 16, 2014 at 3:20 PM

Well, hope you people are happy. Your constant whining has led to aa innocent selfless civil servant being slain.

Can we now finally put Fast & Furious, Benghazi, the IRS thing, and all the other witch hunts behind us…and let President Obama get on with fixing this country?!

Frank Lib on May 16, 2014 at 3:21 PM

VA official resigns in scandal

Alrighty then! Case closed, and the poor scape goat can live out a nice quiet, comfortable well-compensated retirement.

/SNARK

hawkeye54 on May 16, 2014 at 3:21 PM

Dear Dr. Petzel, please send us a “selfie” of you and the bus.

Johnny on May 16, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Okay. Move along now. This had nothing to do with rationing health care. It was this one bad guy. Problem fixed. Move along. Oh, and America? When you fall for this shit — and you will — you’ll be getting the health care you deserve.

Rational Thought on May 16, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Dude, how long ago was this?

TarheelBen on May 16, 2014 at 3:23 PM

Fired with a big fat government pension…some punishment…

PatriotRider on May 16, 2014 at 3:24 PM

Let me tell you how the government viewed situation similar to this when the shoe was on the other foot. If one of my operators took note of an abnormal condition but didn’t recognize it for whatever reason and didn’t inform his supervisors then the NRC blamed the company and acted as if the condition was discovered and ignored. Their position was that someone discovered it and should have recognized it ergo the company was remiss in taking required remedial actions. We’ve had regulatory actions taken against us for such situation. I’ve even had my rights read to me for a situation I did recognize as outside allowed parameters and immediately acted to correct and actually did correct within an allowable time frame. Hang ‘em, nobody ever died on my watch like they did on theirs. Hang ‘em all. No sympathy from me at all. If you didn’t know about it Shinseki you should have.

Oldnuke on May 16, 2014 at 3:24 PM

When will someone actually feel pain for their actions?
On leave with pay
Early retirement
Moving to another department
Once embedded, they remain ad nauseum.

LeftCoastRight on May 16, 2014 at 3:24 PM

So Sh*tSheki is still there?

ToddPA on May 16, 2014 at 3:16 PM

Heckuva job Sh1tShaky !
Oh my :)

burrata on May 16, 2014 at 3:25 PM

Watch this VA scandal carefully and make certain you understand the lengths the VA went to in order to systemically cover their willful negligence. Negligence that was produced and engendered by a government bureaucracy in charge of distributing and regulating health care. Negligence by that bureaucracy that resulted in the deaths of men and women who have served this nation. This is what government run health care is, make no mistake. This is coming to your neighborhood, your family.

If they can get away with doing this to veterans and their families, they can get away with doing it to you and your family.

thatsafactjack on May 16, 2014 at 3:26 PM

Can we now finally put Fast & Furious, Benghazi, the IRS thing, and all the other witch hunts behind us…and let President Obama get on with fixing this country?!

Frank Lib on May 16, 2014 at 3:21 PM

Damn Straight! he’s convening a Council next month
to discuss kids playing Sports, and getting concussions.

ToddPA on May 16, 2014 at 3:27 PM

Top dog needs to go

Pretty lame since he was already planning to skedaddle

cmsinaz on May 16, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Well, that should certainly bring back our dead veterans…….

KMC1 on May 16, 2014 at 3:29 PM

He was already on the way out – Roll Call is reporting that a replacement was announced May 1st, Jeffrey Murawsky (head of Veterans Integrated Service Network). h/t boss emeritus on twitter

So, not really a resignation. more like shuffling the deck again.

PaperGirl on May 16, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Figures. I shouldn’t have been so quick to assume someone was actually forced out.

Doomberg on May 16, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Top dogEATER needs to go

Pretty lame since he was already planning to skedaddle

cmsinaz on May 16, 2014 at 3:29 PM

FIFY

KMC1 on May 16, 2014 at 3:30 PM

So many Honorable folks resigning in this administration….

Electrongod on May 16, 2014 at 3:31 PM

great. some septegenarian who should have probably been gone years ago, takes his full pension, my guess 95K per year, 3 months earlier than he had planned. and he’ll get the 7 thousand weeks of unpaid leave he’s stored up the last millenium as his caclicfied ass sat at that desk playing solitaire. boy, this accountabilty thing feels great.

t8stlikchkn on May 16, 2014 at 3:31 PM

kmc :)

cmsinaz on May 16, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Obama administration officials motto is: The buck stops somewhere below me.

Wendya on May 16, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Well, that should certainly bring back our dead veterans…….

KMC1 on May 16, 2014 at 3:29 PM

#BringBackOurVets

burrata on May 16, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Shinseki Next.

You can flame me if you want, but there really is only one man for the job of taking over VA.

Mitt Romney

can_con on May 16, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Yeah with all things Obama the buck never,ever stops with him…

sandee on May 16, 2014 at 3:36 PM

So what happens to all those bonuses they got for killing these vets ?
They get to keep them ?

burrata on May 16, 2014 at 3:36 PM

Really care about all those dead veterens?

Concerned about petty bureaucrats who will put vets into the Waiting Room to Hell and then lie and lie so they can reap bonuses?

Yeah?

Really?

Divest Pudgy Pants of his pension; let him see how well he survives on Social Security and Medicare.

I will bet you MY non-existent Federal pension that this would do more to clean up the pigsty that is the VA than anything else.

Dolce Far Niente on May 16, 2014 at 3:37 PM

orth noting, too, is that Petzel was already scheduled to retire later this year.

Sacrificed for the team! There is an “i” in retire.

rhombus on May 16, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Update: Worth noting, too, is that Petzel was already scheduled to retire later this year.

Regardless of how inept and dishonest he was – he’ll retire with full pension benefits – courtesy of the US Taxpayer. *bangs head*

Hill60 on May 16, 2014 at 3:38 PM

I’d guess that some administration officials are getting very worried about this particular probe.

Screwing over veterans after a decade of war is an easy to understand scandal and extremely bad optics.

rbj on May 16, 2014 at 3:39 PM

I’d guess that some administration officials are getting very worried about this particular probe.

Not even remotely possible , they are proud of their deeds.
They used to spit on veterans, now they get to kill them for bonuses.

burrata on May 16, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Good deal. Removing Honorable from his placard now.

Bmore on May 16, 2014 at 3:43 PM

The Vetrans Adm. is the number one re-election cash cow of the two party evil money cult in Washington D.C..

A “Pork” cash cow oddly enough…

Disability lawyers have their dirty fingers deep into this cow’s udders.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on May 16, 2014 at 3:43 PM

he’s convening a Council next month
to discuss kids playing Sports, and getting concussions.

Time for the liberals to switch gears from football being the greatest thing ever, thanks to some gay guy, to football is killing everyone.

lowandslow on May 16, 2014 at 3:44 PM

Lt. for life long time traitor and liar John F. Kerry will end up with this job so he can finish off what he started when he first lied and shot American fighting men in the back.

Treason is in season with this scurge upon the people.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on May 16, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Update: Worth noting, too, is that Petzel was already scheduled to retire later this year.

As I would have suspected; he may have volunteered to ‘be fired’, knowing they needed someone to sacrifice, with a guarantee that he would be credited with time-worked to make it to a full pension.

Government bureaucrats are compassionate and generous, to other government bureaucrats.

slickwillie2001 on May 16, 2014 at 3:46 PM

That the VA is this low and that Kerry was never punished is all the evidence needed to show all just how low the U.S.A. has been dragged down now.

Shame on U.S. all.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on May 16, 2014 at 3:47 PM

I am not surprised by this. Petzel was always a weasel in my view, even when he ran the VA Nebraska/Western Iowa Health Care System.

He was a mealy mouthed bureaucrat even then, of whom you could never get a straight answer out of, and he has not changed.

In my view as a disabled veteran, he should be divested of his pension and thrown in jail.

But hey, what do I know…

Gothguy on May 16, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Whenever Reality resembles a Conspiracy Theory, you find Democrats in charge.

Mord on May 16, 2014 at 3:49 PM

Sort of appears there is a conspiracy going on. Since bonuses, etc. may be involved, do RICO statutes apply here?

butch on May 16, 2014 at 3:49 PM

Time to give Dr. Petzel immunity and ask “who directed you to cover up?”

phreshone on May 16, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Of some note as we react to this low scum:

Homeland Security chief thug of the Obama kind wants to end all deportations of all illegals.

“End All Deportations”

Ya including any arrested felons, “Local goverments need not to call on the Federal Goverment in these cases to deport any longer.

Says Mr. Johnson (skank atty) of the commie Democrat Party kind.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on May 16, 2014 at 3:51 PM

Time for the liberals to switch gears from football being the greatest thing ever, thanks to some gay guy, to football is killing everyone.

lowandslow on May 16, 2014 at 3:44 PM

most of the “guys” in this admin look like they could play the same game as sam; vietor, pfieffer, plouffe, gibbs, the spokesmodel time magazine tuff. they all look like they played some ball.

t8stlikchkn on May 16, 2014 at 3:53 PM

Over 30 years ago, my father would go into a mini rage every time we would drive past the VA hospital on our way to Brooklyn…he would say that he wouldn’t allow his dog to be cared for there…so, sh*tty care for veterans is certainly not a new problem created by the (loathsome) Obama administration…I have gotten so cynical, I truly believe many in our government just pay lip service to veterans, and would rather most of them just die once they have outlived their usefulness…my husband is a 23 year veteran and THANK GOD we do not have to use the services of a VA hospital… I know there are many dedicated workers at the VA, I have two friends who are VA hospital nurses and they are exceptional people, but with the leadership in such shambles, they are swimming upstream…I also agree with the poster above who said Mitt Romney could clean up the VA…EVERY head at the VA bureaucracy must roll, starting with Shinseki, and a complete overall of the system must take place!

ellifint on May 16, 2014 at 3:54 PM

Shamed Nation

APACHEWHOKNOWS on May 16, 2014 at 3:54 PM

Peanut

This is on Shinseki/Holder/obama.

See the VA mess.

See the Marine in the Tijuana jail.

See the 36,000 released criminals, while the Veterans die, for high bonuses.

Thugs run the land.

Schadenfreude on May 16, 2014 at 3:57 PM

This scandal like all others, leads back to the Obama administration.

Raquel Pinkbullet on May 16, 2014 at 3:58 PM

Shamed Nation

APACHEWHOKNOWS on May 16, 2014 at 3:54 PM

Yeah, the nation should be shamed AND ashamed. Sad that for so many neither are possible.

hawkeye54 on May 16, 2014 at 3:58 PM

Thugs run the land.

Schadenfreude on May 16, 2014 at 3:57 PM

And millions are good with that as long as they can still get their fill of swill at the government feeding trough.

hawkeye54 on May 16, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Drudge

Valerie Jarrett: ‘We have a commitment’ from Boehner to move immigration…

Speaker disputes…

Jarrett ‘clarifies’…

PAPER: ‘Electoral death warrant’…

Released criminals become GOP’s new weapon…

‘Undocumented immigrant’ viciously beats park employee with rock…

Marine is in jail in Tijuana.

36,000 criminals released by obama/Holder and goons.

VA kills Veterans, for higher bonuses.

Welcome to the Thuggery of America.

Schadenfreude on May 16, 2014 at 4:01 PM

In the Military the buck stops high. Shinseki has expired all his credits.

obama s/b worried about the VA fiasco.

Assigning his paper-boy to overlook it will make things way worse.

Schadenfreude on May 16, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Wait, soon they’ll say “OK, we found the guy, so it’s over now”.

Tard on May 16, 2014 at 4:05 PM

I’m interested to know HOW MANY of the vets this department killed for Hussein were white and how many were black ?

burrata on May 16, 2014 at 4:08 PM

i think a couple poeple in Cincy did this VA thing. ok, either those 2 rogues or it was a video. and boy i bet obama is outraged. next week: obama on aprah calls the VA scandal a phony scandal!

t8stlikchkn on May 16, 2014 at 4:11 PM

That was quick! Dems cut this one lose?

Yeah….looks like there’s a possibility the Obama admin really, REALLY doesn’t want a system audit.

I hope Coats will follow through with it anyway. Needs to be done. More to be revealed that just this single issue with the waiting lists.

lineholder on May 16, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Shenseki should have been right behind him but apparently he lacks the courage, honor and character to do the right thing. That entire Obama administration is pure, putrid slime.

rplat on May 16, 2014 at 4:14 PM

They drew straws to see who would take the fall for Shenseki and this jackass lost.

rplat on May 16, 2014 at 4:15 PM

I know what’s wrong with the VA. It’s a government agency. It never should have been invented in the first place. The government is incapable of doing something like this. If its anything else that doesn’t involve people dying we wouldn’t notice. All of the agencies are in this kind of mess. Which is a very good reason Obamacare will never work.

crankyoldlady on May 16, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Should have been Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki along with Dr. Petzel walking out the door. VA needs a clean sweep.

texmarc on May 16, 2014 at 4:18 PM

Is there any part of the O administration that is not neck-deep in scandal right now?

No accountability, no resignations of consequence. Instead, these incompetents win awards, bigger posts, or run for President.

Meanwhile, it is the White House Chef who resigns in response to the Obamas hardline position on tasty food.

LetsBfrank on May 16, 2014 at 4:21 PM

What is the over/under date for Shitseki’s resignation?

Dirty Creature on May 16, 2014 at 4:34 PM

What is the over/under date for Shitseki’s resignation?

Dirty Creature on May 16, 2014 at 4:34 PM

This is Friday – dump day.

crankyoldlady on May 16, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Is there also a secret list of VA resignations….?

albill on May 16, 2014 at 4:39 PM

?.. That entire Obama administration is pure, putrid slime.

Dude, that’s RACISS!

Tard on May 16, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Whew! I’ve been watching this story and can say I’m much relieved that the problems have been solved and the guilty punished with a few extra months of tax-funded pension.

Obviously nothing more to see here. Another successful Friday scapegoat dump and *poof* the “VA is corrupt” meme disappears from the public consciousness.

…or so it is hoped.

ROCnPhilly on May 16, 2014 at 4:53 PM

H.R. Clinton must have been talking about the way the VA treats the veterans it is mandated to serve and provide care for when she made her appearance on “The View”.

During her visit to the daytime talk show, which taped Thursday in New York, Clinton spoke about women and making choices in life — from marriage to having children. “The most important thing is how we treat each other and how we think about the future…That means we have to be kinder…more empathetic…It all starts at home…with who you are a person,” said Clinton, who was also there to promote her new book, “Hard Choices.”

Because…progressives are SOOOOOO empathetic….and kind. Just look at our experience with the examples of these enlightened saintly humanists here on the threads at HA.

And, of course, H.R. Clinton means being kinder and more empathetic to the children one chooses to actually, you know… keep… when you find out you’re pregnant… not the ones you decide not to keep… because the disposable variety certainly don’t define… “who you are as a person”.

Just as willfully conspiring to dispose of veterans you’ve been mandated to provide health care for in a timely and effective manner doesn’t define “who you are as a person.” or an agency… right Hillary?

thatsafactjack on May 16, 2014 at 5:10 PM

What is the over/under date for Shitseki’s resignation?

Dirty Creature on May 16, 2014 at 4:34 PM

memorial day weekend friday

t8stlikchkn on May 16, 2014 at 5:21 PM

Fired with a big fat government pension…some punishment…

PatriotRider on May 16, 2014 at 3:24 PM

JAIL — accessory to Murder !!

KenInIL on May 16, 2014 at 5:29 PM

This guy was leaving anyway and the guy dear leader picked to replace him comes from one of the worst hospitals in the VA system. It’s got a double stack of wait lists to wade through for care. Either the regime has had this plan in the works since day one or they’re even more incompetent than we imagined.

Kissmygrits on May 16, 2014 at 5:30 PM

“Look! Squirrel!”

NavyMustang on May 16, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Fired with a big fat government pension…some punishment…

PatriotRider on May 16, 2014 at 3:24 PM

Don’t think of it as a firing, think of it as an early start to retirement.

Hey, how’s Lois Lerner’s money holding out?

Fallon on May 16, 2014 at 5:45 PM

Update: Worth noting, too, is that Petzel was already scheduled to retire later this year.

So did he resign or retire early as I believe Ms Learner did and does it make any difference in how much he will be collecting from taxpayers?

Nomas on May 16, 2014 at 5:48 PM

On the other hand, we now have more accountability at the VA than we did at State with Benghazi, or at Treasury with the IRS scandal.

I’d chalk that up to it being a Department associated with branch of government that actually has a written honor code. State and the IRS knows nothing about honor, so it’s easy for those in the latter departments to trample any and all things with impunity and not lose a minute of sleep.

Dusty on May 16, 2014 at 6:19 PM

So, the VA tries to bend the facts into a Petzel, just so that General Disaster can live another day?

paladinofthelosthour on May 16, 2014 at 6:22 PM

Hey, how’s Lois Lerner’s money holding out?

Fallon on May 16, 2014 at 5:45 PM

Precisely the reason why I oppose immunity for her until her legal bills reach 6 or 7 figures.

Dusty on May 16, 2014 at 6:23 PM

One Putz down, many more to come.

Another Drew on May 16, 2014 at 6:31 PM

Hey, how’s Lois Lerner’s money holding out?

Fallon on May 16, 2014 at 5:45 PM

Precisely the reason why I oppose immunity for her until her legal bills reach 6 or 7 figures.

Dusty on May 16, 2014 at 6:23 PM

What makes you think she’s paying for those lawyers?, I wouldn’t be surprised if we the taxpayer aren’t being stiffed for her lawyers fees as well.

Bakokitty on May 16, 2014 at 6:40 PM

Update: Worth noting, too, is that Petzel was already scheduled to retire later this year.

So did he resign or retire early as I believe Ms Learner did and does it make any difference in how much he will be collecting from taxpayers?

Nomas on May 16, 2014 at 5:48 PM

In fact Barry has already announced his replacement a few weeks ago.

slickwillie2001 on May 16, 2014 at 6:40 PM

“To date, we found no evidence of a secret list and we have found no patients who have died because they’ve been on a wait list,” …If the allegations are true, they’re absolutely unacceptable.”

WTF? I thought he said they found NO evidence of a list, yet “IF THE ALLEGATIONS ARE TRUE”………..which is it ya dumb ass?

NEW LAW: If you resign or are fired…you get NO pension.

GarandFan on May 16, 2014 at 8:05 PM

So what is a firing offense at the VA…?

d1carter on May 16, 2014 at 8:09 PM

I’m sure Shinseky has the complete confidence of Dear Leader….

d1carter on May 16, 2014 at 8:10 PM

Another fatcat resigns just before retiring….

d1carter on May 16, 2014 at 8:11 PM

question of whether Shinseki knew about it and lied to Congress in his testimony

Did you mean to write Petzel?

talkingpoints on May 16, 2014 at 8:55 PM

sacrificial lamb.

paulsur on May 16, 2014 at 10:34 PM

WHY is this Site SO STUPID that they FORGET TO Include THE FOLLOWING KEY INFORMATION in the HEADLINE:

“WAS SET TO RETIRE ANYWAY”

WHO MAKES THESE “DECISIONS” — ED? OTHER IDIOTS?

williamg on May 17, 2014 at 12:39 AM

VA Fast-Tracks Sex Change for Manning While Vets Die on Waiting Lists

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has formally approved the request of Pvt. Bradley Manning, convicted for leaking classified documents to Wikileaks, to be temporarily transferred out of military custody in order to undergo expensive hormone therapy and surgery to become a woman.

Akzed on May 17, 2014 at 12:02 PM

You know, sooner or later this administration is going to run out of scapegoats.

RebeccaH on May 17, 2014 at 8:20 PM

Obama admin always finds some guy about to retire

to blame the scandal on

they did it with that guy from the IRS last year

so since Obama will RETIRE in Jan 2017
how about him RESIGN NOW?

sniffles1999 on May 18, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Obama admin tactic

WHO IS ABOUT TO RETIRE SO WE CAN DROP THE BLAME ON
and thus cover it up and lie to the public

sniffles1999 on May 18, 2014 at 10:49 AM