Collins sends second round of questions to VA on wasteful conference spending

“These findings are inexcusable, given the heroic mission the VA has to serve our nation’s veterans, but they are especially disappointing because they should have been preventable,” Collins wrote in a letter that was released Wednesday. “As we’ve seen with the GSA conferences scandal, abuses that lead to one scandal may just be the tip of the iceberg and a broader review may expose a cultural problem at the agency.”

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Earlier this year Congress reacted to a lavish Las Vegas conference held by the General Services Administration (GSA). 

This is the second letter Collins’ has written to the VA regarding the wasteful conferences. She said she received a response to her first letter, but that not all her questions about accountability were answered and now she has more since the OIG has ruled that the VA has weak oversight.

“As a result of poor management and improper oversight, of the $6.1 million spent on the conferences, as much as $762,000 were reported to have been ‘unauthorized, unnecessary, and/or wasteful spending,’” the letter stated.

The most recent letter from Collins includes new questions asking for documented justifications for bonuses given to VA employees for their role in planning some of the most wasteful elements of the Orlando conferences. The Assistant Secretary for VA’s Human Resources and Administration office resigned from his position after the OIG report.