Tammy Duckworth Calls for Investigation Into “Mar-a-Lago Crowd” Influence at Veteran’s Affairs
Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) sent a letter last week to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie urging him to immediately cut ties with what she called the “Mar-a-Lago Crowd” -- including Ike Perlmutter, Bruce Moskowitz, and Marc Sherman. (Regular Beat DC readers will recall this.) As a follow up to that letter and a ProPublica investigation which revealed how Donald Trump’s friends have inappropriately dictated a number of VA actions and used the department to advance their own business and personal interests, Duckworth and Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) have requested a formal investigation into the matter. In a letter to VA Inspector General Michael Missal, the Senators ask Missal to determine whether VA leadership violated any federal law, policy, or their ethical obligation to Veterans. Specifically, they asked the IG to review whether VA officials inappropriately shared procurement sensitive information with non-governmental employees; whether VA officials misused taxpayer funds by taking multiple trips with the sole purpose of meeting with non-elected political advisors; whether senior Trump political appointees violated The Federal Records Act; and whether then-VA Chief of Staff Peter O’Rourke violated federal civil service protections by communicating with non-governmental individuals. “We ask that you investigate these reports and allegations to determine whether there has been any violation of laws, policies, or ethics agreements. VA leaders should be focused on reserving taxpayer dollars for Veteran care and making decisions that benefit Veterans, not on pleasing unelected and unconfirmed political advisors,” the Senators wrote. See the full letter here.