Defense

VA officials got $142M in bonuses amid scandal

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Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officials collected more than $142 million in bonuses in 2014, the same year the agency was under fire for protracted delays in giving veterans treatment and fake patient wait lists.

Despite a pay freeze for top-level officials, the agency continued to pay performance-based bonuses to nearly half of its employees nationwide, according to data published by USA Today on Wednesday.

Among the payouts were bonuses of $4,000 to $8,000 for officials who managed the construction of a Denver facility that is more than $1 billion over budget.

{mosads}An executive who was the subject of a report detailing mismanagement at a facility in St. Cloud, Minn., also took in a performance bonus of $4,000.

Roughly 156,000 executives, managers, and employees received bonuses for their work in 2014. The average bonus was more than $900.

Before his resignation last year, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki suspended bonuses for senior-level executives.

News of the bonuses follows a that report alleged two VA regional directors intentionally shuffled senior staffers to new locations, claiming lavish relocation expenses along the way, in order to get around the pay freeze.

The directors refused to testify before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs earlier this month.

The 2014 scandal over patient delays linked to veterans’ deaths sparked reform legislation in Congress.

On Tuesday, the Senate also overwhelmingly passed a defense policy bill that includes $1.1 billion in funding for veterans’ care.

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