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U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a combat veteran, demanded the repayment of nearly $11 million in unjustified bonuses that were distributed to senior executives within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and called for the immediate dismissal of the responsible officials.

In a letter, the senators pointed out the VA Office of Inspector General report that revealed blatant disregard for VA policies and mismanagement of taxpayer dollars.

“The egregious mishandling of Critical Skill Incentives (CSIs) and the subsequent lack of accountability demand immediate and decisive action to restore integrity and trust within the VA,” the senators wrote. “This report has brought to light the improper allocation of CSIs to senior executives within the VA. It has revealed a consistent disregard for statutory requirements and VA policies, resulting in the unjustified distribution of bonuses to executives. This blatant misuse of taxpayer funds is not just a breach of public trust but also a disservice to the courageous men and women who have selflessly served our nation. Furthermore, the OIG report outlines systemic failures in internal controls and transparency within the VA. It underscores the need for urgent reforms to strengthen governance processes and ensure accountability for decision-making regarding financial management practices.”

The senators demanded the VA take immediate action to restore public confidence.
“Failure to take decisive action in response to these revelations will undermine public confidence in the VA and the trust of those who have sacrificed so much for our country,” the senators continued. “Congress passed the PACT Act to expand access to VA health care and benefits for millions of veterans exposed to toxic substances, not pad the pockets of career bureaucrats, particularly during a time when a majority of them were working remotely. Congress worked in good faith with the Department to provide for the necessary resources to recruit and retain employees with high-demand skills or skills that are in short supply. The brazen entitlement by senior executives appointed by this Administration shows a clear lack of judgement and selfishness and these individuals must be held accountable.”

Read the full letter here.

Author: Press Release


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