Nineteen months after whistleblowers expose massive and systemic corruption in the Veterans Administration that denied thousands of veterans care — while hundreds died waiting for it — heads have rolled. The only problem is that it’s the heads of the whistleblowers, as the VA itself has discovered in an internal investigation. Two executives who retaliated against whistleblowers in the scandal still get their salary from the VA, one of whom is still on the job:
Investigators at the Department of Veterans Affairs found that two senior managers retaliated against whistleblowers who reported dangers to patient care and financial mismanagement at the Phoenix hospital at the center of a nationwide scandal over falsified waiting lists.
But 15 months after the internal probes were finished and sent to Secretary Robert McDonald recommending that the managers be disciplined or fired, VA has done neither — keeping one official on paid leave at home and leaving the other on the job. …
The lengthy, detailed investigations of Deering and Lance Robinson, the hospital’s associate director, provide a window onto an issue that’s only starting to get the attention of senior leaders in government: Supervisors who punish whistleblowers for reporting wrongdoing rarely are punished themselves.
Only starting? Congress has had this issue front and center ever since May 2014, when these men and women came forward to expose VA management’s corrupt attempts to enrich themselves through performance bonuses by falsifying records. Eric Shinseki handed in a forced resignation, the only Cabinet official to suffer consequences for poor performance in the Obama administration. Obama brought in Robert McDonald as Shinseki’s replacement, promising that things would change at the VA.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Corruptocrats kept their jobs, while the whistleblowers got punished. Congress has taken its collective eye off the ball, but the issue of whistleblower retaliation has been part and parcel of this scandal all along, and long before that too. In fact, it was a big media story during the Bush administration, when Time Magazine made whistleblowers their Person of the Year to highlight opposition to Bush’s post-9/11 policies. In this administration, the media seems a lot less interested in the whistleblowers. I wonder why?
The victims in this case aren’t just limited to those who bravely stepped forward to expose corruption. They include veterans like this Army vet who had to lie on an emergency room floor for hours, and still isn’t getting the care he needs and deserves:
The lack of accountability in the VA and the Obama administration is breathtaking.