Blumenthal calls for Veterans Affairs investigation

Al Willis, a Montford Point Marine, salutes during a ceremony on Veterans Day, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, at the The All Wars Memorial to Colored Soldiers and Sailors in Philadelphia. Americans marked Veterans Day on Tuesday with parades, speeches and military discounts, while in Europe the holiday known as Armistice Day held special meaning in the centennial year of the start of World War I. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTNH) — In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called for an immediate investigation into potential violations in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that, if proven, Blumenthal laments, “evince a mindset that puts veterans last.”

In his letter released Tuesday morning, Blumenthal demands a thorough investigation. Working off of a report from the VA Office of Inspector General (VAOIG) released September 28, 2015, the Connecticut Senator outlines the potential offenses. Most recently and most “egregious” of these, involves $1.8 million intended for 23 relocations over the past three years being used to, according to the VAOIG report, “justify annual salary increases” for senior employees. Blumenthal elaborates,

“Veterans deserve the accountability that can only come from DOJ acting upon the evidence and information it has now received. This scheme to defraud taxpayers and manipulate the system is, unfortunately, only the latest example of unacceptable misconduct by VA employees. Although VAOIG has found evidence indicating criminal activity in a number of their recent investigations, federal prosecutors have declined to pursue the vast majority of cases.”

As many of these outstanding cases are lacking evidence, Blumenthal requests that the DOJ work closely with the VAOIG to ensure that is no longer an obstacle. What’s more, this strengthened relationship could help in preventing future violations.

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