(Washington, DC) U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) today sent a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald challenging the department’s failure to review all whistleblower claims. This request follows recent testimony by the VA Deputy Inspector General Linda Halliday on the low number of whistleblower complaints actually reviewed by the VA Office of Inspector General.
“Unfortunately, it is apparent the Department is failing to seriously take into account reports submitted by those who report wrongdoing at VA. Regardless of the volume, veterans who bravely served our nation deserve a Department that reviews every claim of wrongdoing by those who are dedicated to restoring Americans’ trust in the VA,” Ernst wrote.
“In a September 2015 hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Deputy Inspector General Linda Halliday said that her office shelved 36,000 complaints it received this year. This means that approximately only 10% of the total number claims reported by whistleblowers are being reviewed by the Department,” Ernst added. “This is simply unacceptable considering the extensive challenges at VA and the risks whistleblowers take to come forward with complaints at VA.”
“As a Member of the Senate, it is my duty to ensure our nation lives up to the promises it has made to our veterans. I urge you to ensure the Department examines all whistleblower claims, or if the Department is unable to examine all whistleblower claims, seek further assistance to ensure due diligence to all whistleblower claims,” Ernst concluded.
The letter can be viewed below: