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Partying at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

As the Washington Times editorial yesterday correctly points out, “Americans expect the nation to take care of our veterans, especially during war time when the needs of recently wounded warriors increase.” However, that has not been the case at the Department of Veterans Affairs where the Washington Times reports that “some bureaucrats are using their positions to enrich themselves.” According to a VA Inspector General report (requires Adobe), posted by Ducuticker, the Times’ editorial says:

“Forty-two heavily redacted pages detail the antics of Diane Hartmann, the VA's director of national programs and special events. In this role, her primary duty was to coordinate rehabilitative events for disabled veterans, but, according to the report, Ms. Hartmann had other interests. For example, Ms. Hartmann allegedly spent her work time coming up with strategies that would contribute to a successful grand opening event for a friend's new business. Among the files investigators say they found on her government-issued computer were marketing plans, invitation letters, mailing lists and advertising flyers for this private event.”

The Times editorial closes with:

“Most Americans would consider a salary of $155,500 (not counting bonus) to be a godsend, especially in such a troubled economy. Although she was making triple the median household income, that apparently wasn't enough loot for Ms. Hartmann. Investigators recommended that she be forced to pay back $26,704.48 in extra benefits she appropriated. That was the harshest penalty suggested.

“The scariest aspect of this story is how little coverage it has received. In official Washington, misconduct of this sort among so-called public servants is considered business as usual. Little thought is given to being responsible stewards of public funds. But if lying, destroying evidence and misappropriating public funds don't constitute a crime, then the laws need to be rewritten. Plundering government employees should, at the very least, be fired on the spot for putting themselves above their duty.”

Ah, the wonders of bureaucrats. And there are people who want Washington to run the nation’s health care system?


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