Emails show White House “requested” IG to change VA scandal report

posted at 1:01 pm on November 3, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Almost two months ago, a whistleblower from inside the Department of Veteran Affairs claimed that the Inspector General watered down the final report in the VA’s wait-list scandal to minimize the political damage. IG Richard Griffin denied that he had been pressured to adjust his findings, which the Arizona Republic found used a nearly impossible standard for responsibility to get the VA off the hook for hundreds of fraud-related deaths.  On Friday, though, the House Committee on Veteran Affairs published e-mails that clearly show the White House demanding those changes to the final report:

The secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs and a White House appointee pressed for changes in an inspector general’s reporton the Phoenix VA medical center, successfully getting a key finding added, according to newly released documents.

In recent congressional testimony, acting VA Inspector General Richard Griffin adamantly denied that changes in the final report, which downplayed links between delayed care and up to 40 veteran deaths, had been “dictated” by VA headquarters.

But e-mails released Friday by the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs show that Sloan Gibson, then the acting VA secretary, personally corresponded with Griffin in early August, asking him to amend the report.

The message from the White House came nearly from the top. Barack Obama appointed Rob Nabors to supposedly get to the bottom of the corruption. Instead, it appears that Nabors extended it:

E-mails show that White House deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors, who was appointed by President Barack Obama this summer to monitor the VA scandal, also urged the change. The e-mails also asked the OIG to share its planned “message” to the media about veterans’ deaths.

The assistant IG circled back to the VA’s leadership after the change was made to make sure that they were happy with the language. “Was the message on the deaths well received?” John Daigh asked one official at the VA, and Gibson — also hand-picked by Obama to clean up the VA — sent a personal note of thanks to Griffin for the adjustments.

This isn’t the first time that Nabors has been accused of attempting to cover up the scandal. In July, whistleblower Scott Davis testified before Congress that his attempt to inform Nabors of problems in the VA backfired after his complaints mysteriously got leaked to his manager. Davis was joined by a number of whistleblowers who testified about retaliation over the summer.

Apparently, Griffin got the message, literally and figuratively, from Nabors and Gibson. Instead of acting on behalf of veterans and their families, Griffin caved to pressure from the White House and the agency the IG was tasked with independently auditing, and the paper trail spells it out clearly. That kind of pressure should never take place on the IG corps, and when it does it corrupts the accountability that Congress builds into the agency structure and its power-sharing with the executive branch. This is an attack on the balance of powers within the Constitution, and is doubly shameful for its effect in attempting to excuse corrupt bureaucrats for their roles in patient deaths while falsifying government records to protect their jobs and even earn bonuses.

It’s time to take this out of the hands of the IG and into the hands of a special prosecutor.


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Comments

Unexpectedly….

workingclass artist on November 3, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Government healthcare kills.

ConstantineXI on November 3, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Next you’ll tell me that the Administration will use executive privilege to hide evidence. Or that they’ll shred hard drives and claim it was a crash. HA!

joekenha on November 3, 2014 at 1:07 PM

I’m shocked, shocked I tell you!

AureliusPundit on November 3, 2014 at 1:08 PM

“What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?”

D-fusit on November 3, 2014 at 1:09 PM

If you like your smidgen, you can keep your smidgen… or not.

Well, at least we know that nothing is sacred to this administration, not even our veterans.

The only good that could come from the Obama years is that he is destroying the Democrat party from within.

SpaceManSpiff on November 3, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Boy is King Putt going to be upset when he reads about this in the paper like the rest of us.

Rio Linda Refugee on November 3, 2014 at 1:09 PM

This post isn’t clear on what the emails actually said and what was changed in the report. It’s really tough to figure how bad this is without those details.

themuppet on November 3, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Sleazy low-lifes. Bowed down for his pat on the head didn’t he?

graywaiter on November 3, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Ok now what are you gonna do about it..??

Pelosi Schmelosi on November 3, 2014 at 1:13 PM

It was changed enough to satisfy the Won. Tells me all I need to know.

KCB on November 3, 2014 at 1:13 PM

We need to rethink the role of IG’s and who they report to….

d1carter on November 3, 2014 at 1:14 PM

Next you’ll tell me that the Administration will use executive privilege to hide evidence. Or that they’ll shred hard drives and claim it was a crash. HA!

joekenha on November 3, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Or Russian hackers get into the Executive Branch computers.

How Conveeeeeeeeeenient!

SDN on November 3, 2014 at 1:14 PM

It’s time to take this out of the hands of the IG and into the hands of a special prosecutor.

I suppose Holder could appoint any one he prefers on his way out. He/she should then be able to run out the clock.

butch on November 3, 2014 at 1:16 PM

It’s time to take this out of the hands of the IG and into the hands of a special prosecutor.

Agreed, particularly when the IG caves to the pressure of the WH and changes the report.

So, has calling this the ‘most open and transparent Administration ever’ reached the same pinnacle of lying as ‘If you like your Doctor, you can keep your Doctor’ or ‘If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan’?

The arrogance and contempt of this Administration to the rule of law and to the Constitution is only matched by their arrogance and contempt towards not only our veterans, but all Americans who don’t blindly support their fascism.

Athos on November 3, 2014 at 1:16 PM

The election eve news dump that the lsm will never report on….

cmsinaz on November 3, 2014 at 1:17 PM

Scandals no longer mean anything in Obamaland when they can just change information, stall and delay, and never allow a real investigation to occur.

HB Surfer on November 3, 2014 at 1:18 PM

Does any of this matter? This jackazz gets away with anything and everything.

Cindy Munford on November 3, 2014 at 1:19 PM

War on Vets!

Sven on November 3, 2014 at 1:19 PM

I can’t believe the attorney general isn’t on top of this…

One thing I have learned, constant corruption can wear you down so things like this, you start to say “Again?”, and than you just get numb.

I guess it’s better to be totally corrupt, than to have just one “setback” in your career when you are a politician.

But best to be a democrat…

right2bright on November 3, 2014 at 1:20 PM

Hopefully this is the beginning of Floodgate and all the scandals finally erupt.

Flange on November 3, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Leftist D-latrine rats are always thugs.

Take this very seriously, especially the very end.

Schadenfreude on November 3, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Cindy Munford on November 3, 2014 at 1:19 PM

So far, so true, Cindy… but maybe not forever.

Ben Stein: “Obama is the most racist president there has ever been.”

The things upon which a legacy is made, or destroyed.

thatsafactjack on November 3, 2014 at 1:28 PM

“It’s time to take this out of the hands of the IG and into the hands of a special prosecutor.”

And who would appoint the special prosecutor?

There won’t be any prosecutions of Obama administration wrongdoing until after 2016, if ever. The only outside group that could force a meaningful prosecution is the press, and the MSM is in his pocket.

NSJ4 on November 3, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Orwell direct link

Schadenfreude on November 3, 2014 at 1:31 PM

Every department of the federal government under Obama have been politically weaponized. Transparency was just another lie from Obama.

If you like your transparency you can keep your transparency.

jukin3 on November 3, 2014 at 1:33 PM

What? Can’t be. “THE most transparent administration EVAH” would never do this….

dentarthurdent on November 3, 2014 at 1:36 PM

There’s no two ways about it, Obama is evil. I have little doubt if one digs deep enough that the wait lists were concocted by the WH at Obama’s behest. He hates the military.

Dusty on November 3, 2014 at 1:37 PM

Does any of this matter? This jackazz gets away with anything and everything.

Cindy Munford on November 3, 2014 at 1:19 PM

Because…While America slept a new era was ushered into the annals…

The Era of Teflon Identity Politicians who cannot be criticized or prosecuted because that would be eurocentricheteronormativesexistbibleclinging20thcenturycrackacapitlistthinking or something….

and there’s surely an app for that.

Brave New World or something….

workingclass artist on November 3, 2014 at 1:38 PM

D*U*H!

Come ON! When are people going to ADMIT (not ‘realize’ – everyone already KNOWS it) that Obama is the most crooked President, his administration is the most crooked administration EVER in this country’s history!

This is also what pi$$e$ me off about the GOP….is that Atty General Holder, Obama, Lerner, etc have all been PROVEN to have violated both Costitution & law; yet, the GOP has PROVEN they are too GUTLESS and too UN-Willing to risk votes as to wield the power the Founding Fathers gave them for just this/these cases – IMPEACHMENT! They are not ‘leaders’ and they sure as h@!! haven’t honored their oaths of office to protect and defend the Constitution and Rule of law. They are self-serving, gutless, TRAITORS – almost as much as Obama & his entire admiistration!

easyt65 on November 3, 2014 at 1:42 PM

We need to rethink the role of IG’s and who they report to….

[d1carter on November 3, 2014 at 1:14 PM]

I agree. I don’t know if it’s worth it to put them under Congress, though. That seems useless. In a case like the VA, the states ought to take some role, and they should have the authority to issue subpoenas and warrants to access documents, collect evidence, and take testimony from federal employees.

Dusty on November 3, 2014 at 1:44 PM

The most transparent administration ever?

bw222 on November 3, 2014 at 1:49 PM

[Schadenfreude on November 3, 2014 at 1:28 PM]

I’d never seen that. It was creepy. He made me shiver.

Dusty on November 3, 2014 at 1:51 PM

The most transparent administration ever?

bw222 on November 3, 2014 at 1:49 PM

“War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.”

Orwell. 1984

workingclass artist on November 3, 2014 at 1:52 PM

This coverup doesn’t even make sense. Benghazi, I get. Protect Hillary and Obama from the fallout. The IRS, absolutely. Protect Obama and his White House from being connected to the targeting. But this is something you’d think Obama would want to clean up. He’s not directly responsible(aside from not cleaning it up 5 1/2 years ago). He and his White House didn’t participate in the fudging of numbers to secure bonuses for VA employees. So why go to these lengths to protect those people and allow this scandal to perpetuate itself? Is he deliberately trying to get more veterans killed?

Doughboy on November 3, 2014 at 1:56 PM

When the Emperor says ‘this is how it shall be’, the toadies had better do as he says.

Griffith is a Toady in the first degree. His future as a loyal underling in the Democrat Party is secure.

s1im on November 3, 2014 at 1:57 PM

“Because…While America slept a new era was ushered into the annals…”

BULL$H!TE!

Obama ADMITTED before the 2008 election that he was
– Tutored by Communist Frank Marshall Davis…
– Studied Socialist Saul Alynski
– Mentored by hate-spewing, racist, Anti-American Jeremiah Wright
– Announced his intention to run for President from the living room of a domestic terrorist who bombed his own country, killed cops, and said he wished to do it again
– Admitted he agreed with his anti-Colonialist daddy who wanted to eliminate the US as a major influence in the world – his 1st few months in office was an ‘apology-tour’…and he demonstrated his disadin for this nation by declaring he would ‘Fundamentally Change’ the United States.
– In 2012 he intentionally chose an historically documented Socialist Motto (‘Forward’) and symbol to shove it in the American people’s faces, to prove they were so STUPID they would not accept that this was what he was doing and would still vote for him…which they DID!

Americans have NOT been ‘ASLEEP’! They saw him for what he was and REFUSED to accept it. Others didn’t give a [email protected] as long as they got their free shi’ite! Remember the 2 ladies – 1 said she voted for Obama ’cause he was going to by her free gasoline and the other said she did because he promised to buy her a new kitchen?! Many blacks could not / would not see past the fact that he was black to see the rest of the things mentioned above. Americans were fully COMPLICIT with electing…and RE-electing…this ‘enemy of the state’!

easyt65 on November 3, 2014 at 1:58 PM

I got the name wrong: Griffin, not Griffith.

However, maybe I should have said Barney Fife.

But that would be an insult to Barney Fife, since he was simply incompetent, not corrupt.

s1im on November 3, 2014 at 2:00 PM

This is so sick.

Democrats are murders, in so many instances. Just their incompetence causes the deaths to so many!

Why can’t that image get set into the American brain, if you vote for these people you may be the victim of their incompetence and lies.

And no one will know because the media will help them cover their sins.

petunia on November 3, 2014 at 2:01 PM

White House deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors, who was appointed by President Barack Obama this summer to monitor the VA scandal, also urged the change.

Silly people. Everyone foolishly thought that “monitoring” the VA was meant to halt the corruption when the real intention was to more cleverly conceal it.

IG Richard Griffin denied that he had been pressured to adjust his findings, which the Arizona Republic found used a nearly impossible standard for responsibility to get the VA off the hook for hundreds of fraud-related deaths.

Dear Mr. Griffin,

Nice job you have there. Be a shame if anything happened to it.

Sincerely,

The White House.

bobthm3 on November 3, 2014 at 2:06 PM

He and his White House didn’t participate in the fudging of numbers to secure bonuses for VA employees. So why go to these lengths to protect those people and allow this scandal to perpetuate itself? Is he deliberately trying to get more veterans killed?

How do you KNOW he had nothing to do with the VA scandal. The VA health care system IS the ‘single-payer’ option that he declared he preferred in 2007 and the system even Harry Reid admitted was the ultimate goal after the ACA fails. (Reid declared the ACA was NEVER meant to last but was a stepping-stone for the ‘single-payer’ system.) If the VA scandal was exposed, that there WERE long wait times and basiclaly ‘death panels’ causing patients to suffer while they got massive bonuses, etc. the American people owuld go ape-shi’ite in opposition to ANY talk about transitioning to a ‘single-payer option. The VA scandal being broken was a threat to his plan.

The Democratic Part/Liberals have always demonstrated they care nothing for the military – it’s documented.
– Refusing to take action to secure the SOFA in Iraq
– Arming ISIS and doing nothing while they poured into Iraq, seizing much of the nation our military paid a heavy price to liberate
– Calling Patraeus a ‘Traitor’ before ever allowing him to return from Iraq and brief Congress about the results of the Surge
– The VA Scandal
– Hiring an Al Qaeda to protect a US Ambassador and leaving him an several ex-Navy SEALS to die alone in Benghazi
…and on and on.

Answer your own (last) question…

easyt65 on November 3, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Well at least it’s transparent. At least after someone digs up all the info.

COgirl on November 3, 2014 at 2:08 PM

According to newly released documents, the report was amended to add a finding that there was no conclusive evidence that delays in care resulted in veteran deaths.

This little nugget shoudl have probabaly been included in the story above…without the need to link to the story … otherwise the story as written above makes no sense..

Von Kleist on November 3, 2014 at 2:09 PM

And who would appoint the special prosecutor?

There won’t be any prosecutions of Obama administration wrongdoing until after 2016, if ever.

NSJ4 on November 3, 2014 at 1:29 PM

And after 2016, when everything finally does come out and we have the balls to prosecute, can we then revoke Obumbler’s fat presidential pension, revoke his Secret Service protection, and tell him that everything will be taken care of for him in Leavenworth?

KansasNavyDad on November 3, 2014 at 2:09 PM

If this were a GOP prez, it would be all over the networks and it would sink the GOP tomorrow.

With Obama, well it might hurt him . . . maybe.

WannabeAnglican on November 3, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Richard Griffin is a lying POS.

AZCoyote on November 3, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Well, they get away with it because nobody does anything about it.

socalniceguy on November 3, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Nothing like ‘investigating yourself’ and appointing an Obama Donor as the lead investigator…

Holder was proven to have committed 3 Felony Counts of Perjury before Congress when he lied about Fast-and-Furious…he was just found in violation of refusing to obey a 2nd court order regarding releasing documents in this still on-going investigation…he followed that up by perpetrating a 4th Felony count of Perjury by telling another investigative committee that he had no knowlege of the illegal AP wire-tapping by his office..until he was FORCED to admit that HE was the one that ordered it. The DOJ refused to indict their boss, & Obama has protected him. He should be in jail. With Obama refusing to hold Holder accountable to the same law he swore an oath on to protect, defend, and up-hold, Congress did the only thing they could — 13 Democrats joined the GOP in making Holder the 1st Atty General in US history to ever be CENSURED! There are no less than 4 on-going scandal investigations of the Obama administration!

easyt65 on November 3, 2014 at 2:15 PM

When the appointment of a special prosecutor is dependent on the AG, and that AG is as corrupt, derelict, and criminal as Eric Holder, perhaps we need to re-examine how and when special prosecutors are needed / appointed.

If nothing highlights the bankruptcy of the ‘go along to get along’ Vichy wing of Congressional Republicans, it’s their complete failures to push and fight to maintain the Constitutional checks and balances on a corrupt, mendacious, and arrogant Executive Branch. Their fear of the media is little more than base cowardice.

Athos on November 3, 2014 at 2:17 PM

With the GOP (hopefully) controlling both the House and Senate, the GOP should pass legislation granting Congress the authority for a Congressional Investigation Committee to call for an Independent / NEUTRAL Prosecuting Attorney (with full prosecutorial powers), specifically citing NO authority by Congress to ‘exempt’ themselves from any laws.

I add that last part because, if people will remember, members of Congress a few years ago were caught red-handed engaging in ‘Insider trading’. They immediately (and astonishingly enough) declared they didn’t know that law applied to Congress! (This proves these elitist [email protected]@rds believe they are above the law!) Instead of holding their members accountable, they declared form ‘THAT POINT ON’ Congress would be susceptible to ‘Insider Trading’ laws….and Americans got away with it. Perhaps Congress should pass a law stating ‘Congress is NOT exempt for ANY US laws)…but then again they would never do so. After the dems rammed the ACA into law, the GOP did not hesitate to ‘jump on the train’ and exempt THEMSELVES. too from having to obey the ACA!

easyt65 on November 3, 2014 at 2:23 PM

I would really like to see the emails. There isn’t much information in the article to declare a “smoking gun.” Facts over Hyperbolee.

paully_wally on November 3, 2014 at 2:23 PM

The punishment from Congress: THEY INCREASED THE VA BUDGET

The “corrective” legislation passed by Congress with majority GOP support, signed into law by Obama, INCREASED THE VA BUDGET, thus rewarding the agency for its criminal malfeasance. I suspect that the “corrective legislation for currupted IG’s will be to increase their budget, expand their numbers, and allow them to be unionized.

Holder’s Justice will not prosecute, or even seriously investigate, no special prosecutor will be named, and expect the incumbent GOP to do nothing. Throw out the Democrats, and then start replacing the Republicans. The federal government is corrupted, incompetent, and unaccountable.

pilsener on November 3, 2014 at 2:38 PM

The only cure for the corruption is Washington is a very big nuke, preferably from orbit. The Dims spawned all the corruption, so they’re going to fight to defend it. But it sure as h3ll isn’t going to be fixed by voting for establishment, corruptocrat (R)’s either.

Meople on November 3, 2014 at 2:49 PM

As far as I can tell the congress is powerless. Holder’s not going to prosecute anyone. There is no “power of the purse” being exercised.

All congress does is hold hearings and talk in an angry voice while Obama et al does whatever they want to do. I doubt that this will change much when the GOP takes the Senate.

Kaffa on November 3, 2014 at 2:55 PM

And after 2016, when everything finally does come out and we have the balls to prosecute

KansasNavyDad on November 3, 2014 at 2:09 PM

Don’t count on it. Just as Bush II didn’t want to pursue the various Clinton scandals, if we get a Bush/McCain/Romney type, a Republican prez won’t want to antagonize the MSM, and if we get Hillary/Billary…

NSJ4 on November 3, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Indeed Dusty – never forget it and spread it around.

Schadenfreude on November 3, 2014 at 2:57 PM

There must be something in the govt water when it comes to AZ. This VA scandal; Fast and Furious; retaliation from Feds against Sheriff Joe; corrupt Mesa Police Chief caught in gender discrimination, corruption, perjury, retaliation, and cover-up; City of Mesa suppressing city auditor’s report of contractor kickbacks, employee theft, and whistleblower retaliation. Where does it end?

LightShiner on November 3, 2014 at 3:04 PM

What the hell is going on in this world?

Hill60 on November 3, 2014 at 3:12 PM

Emails show White House “requested” IG to change VA scandal report

Curious that these emails showed up as opposed to other ones in the IRS, etc.? Must’ve been a Snowden type up there that got them out before the PTB could “lose” them?

The message from the White House came nearly from the top.

Good ol’ “plausible deniability”.

Dr. ZhivBlago on November 3, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Criminal government employees, pitchforks and torches, tar and feathers, lamp posts and rope.
Some assembly required.

Closet Optimist on November 3, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Vote , cancel one illegals illegal vote.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on November 3, 2014 at 3:52 PM

Red green card President.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on November 3, 2014 at 3:55 PM

….and this nonsense starts at the top…..with the most LAWLESS AG I can remember.

It will be a good day for America when Holder goes bye-bye.

TimSoCal on November 3, 2014 at 3:58 PM

How long will congress put up with the bazen illegal activities of the WH?

sadatoni on November 3, 2014 at 4:32 PM

How long will congress put up with the bazen illegal activities of the WH?

sadatoni on November 3, 2014 at 4:32 PM

Until Obola is dragged kicking and screaming from Golf Cart One.

They’ve already said they won’t do a damn thing to stop him.

Meople on November 3, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Ho hum, more abuse of power, corruption, blah, blah, blah…I think the obama strategy is to overwhelm everyone with scandals to prevent us from zeroing in on one. So far it is a brilliant. Or it’s just dumb luck.

warmairfan on November 3, 2014 at 6:11 PM

It’s time to take this out of the hands of the IG and into the hands of a special prosecutor.

That could be applied to pretty much the entire Obama White House.

ExUrbanKevin on November 3, 2014 at 7:48 PM

Griffin caved to pressure from the White House and the agency the IG was tasked with independently auditing

Whaddya wanna bet this pressure included something like “You saw what we did to Gerald Walpin, didn’t you?”

ajb3 on November 3, 2014 at 8:46 PM