The federal government is forcing thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan combat vets to give back tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses that, according to the Pentagon, was erroneously promised to soldiers and guardsmen at the time of their reenlistment.
On Saturday, Jazz brought this outrageous story to your attention and he lays out the details on this outrage brilliantly. I’d just like to add a couple of additional items that might put the outrage in perspective.
While the federal government puts the squeeze on combat war veterans over these reenlistment bonuses they seem fine overlooking plenty of other examples of fiscal mismanagement.
Remember when the Free Beacon reported on the $6 billion Hillary misplaced at Foggy Bottom?
The State Department misplaced and lost some $6 billion due to the improper filing of contracts during the past six years, mainly during the tenure of former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, according to a newly released Inspector General report.
The $6 billion in unaccounted funds poses a “significant financial risk and demonstrates a lack of internal control over the Department’s contract actions,” according to the report.
But it gets even better. Earlier this year Congress called out the Pentagon for their inability to properly audit and account for nearly $6.5 trillion from the Army’s general fund.
The Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the behemoth Indianapolis-based agency that provides finance and accounting services for the Pentagon’s civilian and military members, could not provide adequate documentation for $6.5 trillion worth of year-end adjustments to Army general fund transactions and data.
The DFAS has the sole responsibility for paying all DOD military and personnel, retirees and annuitants, along with Pentagon contractors and vendors. The agency is also in charge of electronic government initiatives, including within the Executive Office of the President, the Department of Energy and the Departing of Veterans Affairs.
That’s right. The Army can’t properly account for literally trillions of dollars in their general fund but their putting the hammer down on combat vets who may have received five or ten thousand bucks in bonuses that they were promised, erroneously or not.
But let’s set all that aside for a moment. What about the lack of accountability at the VA? What about the millions of dollars in bonuses rewarded to officials at the Veterans Administration while they scandalously allowed vets to die while still sitting on waiting lists to receive the health care they were entitled to?
The Department of Veterans Affairs doled out more than $142 million in bonuses to executives and employees for performance in 2014 even as scandals over veterans’ health care and other issues racked the agency.
Among the recipients were claims processors in a Philadelphia benefits office that investigators dubbed the worst in the country last year. They received $300 to $900 each. Managers in Tomah, Wis., got $1,000 to $4,000, even though they oversaw the over-prescription of opiates to veterans – one of whom died.
The VA also rewarded executives who managed construction of a facility in Denver, a disastrous project years overdue and more than $1 billion over budget. They took home $4,000 to $8,000 each. And in St. Cloud, Minn., where an internal investigation report last year outlined mismanagement that led to mass resignations of health care providers, the chief of staff cited by investigators received a performance bonus of almost $4,000.
And when the feds tried to recover a small number of the VA onuses, a judged smacked them down.
So given all of that, what in God’s name is the federal government doing hammering the best among us for an alleged over payment of a several thousand bucks in bonuses? Because these soldiers are good people. They are used to following orders. They are used to saluting and doing what they’re told. They’re patriots. The feds know that they won’t raise a stink and, for the most part, these vets don’t have high-priced lawyers willing to go out on a limb and fight on their behalf.
Let’s hope the Pentagon is wrong about that.