Dem wants DOJ probe into VA misconduct
© Greg Nash

The top Democrat on Senate Veterans Affairs Committee is calling for the Department of Justice to investigate allegations of misconduct at the VA, after a watchdog found that officials have used their positions for personal gain.  

"This scheme to defraud taxpayers and manipulate the system is, unfortunately, only the latest example of unacceptable misconduct by VA employees. This behavior is unacceptable for any federal employee, but it is particularly egregious in this case because it evinces a mindset that puts veterans last," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said Tuesday in a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch
 
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Blumenthal added that the department should "immediately investigate potential violations of law and other wrongdoing" after a VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) report released late last month found that two VA officials abused their authority "when they participated personally and substantially in creating opportunities for their own transfers to positions they were interested in filling." 
 
The VA OIG has referred the cases to the U.S. attorney's office, though it noted in its report that a formal decision on whether or not to pursue prosecution is still pending. 
 
Blumenthal added in his letter that the DOJ should work closely with the VA's watchdog to make sure the OIG's investigation aligns with Department of Justice standards. 
 
The Connecticut Democrat isn't the only lawmaker to voice concern over the VA OIG's report. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Friday urged VA Secretary Bob McDonald to hold employees accountable for wrongdoing. 
 
The IG office made 12 recommendations for the VA. The department has agreed with all of the recommendations and "will take action by the end of the year to address the recommendations," according to the report. 
 
Separately, the VA said in a statement last week that it will "conduct a 30-day review of all incentive and relocation procedures in the Department."
 
"In addition, VA will consider all the evidence presented by the IG, collect any additional evidence necessary, and take appropriate accountability actions,” the agency said.