Online Staff Report
Today, U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., released the following statement on the resignation of Eric Shinseki, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA):
“Secretary Shinseki’s resignation today, while appropriate, will not itself solve the systemic problems within the VA. New leadership, however, is a necessary first step in restoring faith in the agency. As investigations continue, we must ensure that all those found negligent in the care of our veterans, criminal or otherwise, are held accountable. Our veterans deserve no less than the very best care, and I remain committed to working with Democrats and Republicans to ensure that no veteran gets left behind when they come home.”
Wednesday May 28, in light of the VA Inspector General’s interim report, Bustos called for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to launch a full, system-wide Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into allegations of potential criminal activity by employees of the VA and for Shinseki’s resignation. According to the VA inspector general’s interim report, the organization found “systemic” problems nationwide and allegations of gross mismanagement and criminal misconduct by senior VA leadership.
Tuesday, May 27, Bustos sent a letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, calling for a thorough and comprehensive nationwide audit of the VA and demanding full accountability of any and all VA employees found responsible. Last week, Bustos supported the bipartisan Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act, which would give the VA much greater latitude to fire VA executives who fail to perform.
Over the last week, at the congresswoman’s request, Bustos was briefed by the three VA administrators that serve Illinois’ 17th Congressional District on the timeliness and quality of care at their facilities in addition to the system-wide audit the VA is currently undergoing. She was briefed by Judy McKee, Director of the Madison VA, Japhet Rivera, Director of the Danville VA, and Sandra Horsman, the Acting Director of the Iowa City VA.