VA inspector general says former top official steered $5M contract to friend

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A former top Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) official improperly steered a $5 million contract to personal friends, according to a report released Thursday by the department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). 

The OIG concluded that the actions of Peter Shelby, who was the VA’s assistant secretary for human resources and administration at the time, were not only unethical but resulted in the complete waste of government funds. 

The report says that “in February 2018, VA awarded a one-year contract to a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) (the Small Business) that provides leadership and development training focused on its concept of ‘Serving Leadership.’ The contract also involved talent assessment services to be used for evaluating candidates for hiring and promotion decisions.”

“When the contract concluded in August 2019, it became evident that VA had purchased services far in excess of what it could use,” the report continued. 

Shelby began orchestrating the contract just four months after he began the job in October of 2017. He resigned in July 2018, the same month the OIG began investigating. 

“This waste came about as a direct result of what the OIG deemed was Mr. Shelby’s unethical conduct,” the report reads.

In 2018, another VA OIG report found that former VA Secretary David Shulkin misused government resources by accepting Wimbledon tickets and airfare for his wife when he took a trip to Europe that cost at least $122,000.

Tags David Shulkin

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