President Trump has accomplished a great deal during his first full week in office.
He has been busy in the Oval Office undoing many of the failed policies of the Obama administration, and the American people put him there because they demanded change.
And he is fulfilling another campaign promise to “Drain the Swamp” by ridding government agencies of corrupt bureaucrats and dishonest officials.
One agency rife with corruption is the Department of Veterans Affairs, and President Trump has shown our vets that it will no longer be tolerated.
This week, two of the most corrupt VA officials were fired after months of agency officials doing nothing to address problems of theft, fraud, and inept practices that had been putting our veterans in danger.
The Daily Caller reported:
Under former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald, the agency ignored years of evidence about shoddy work ethic, theft, and whistleblower retaliation. The VA finally began a months-long investigative proceeding last year, after an outside agency, the Office of Special Counsel, prodded VA leadership.
DeWayne Hamlin, CEO of the VA’s hospital in Puerto Rico, was axed for allegedly offering an employee $305,000 to quit “after she played a role in exposing his drug arrest.”
In addition, the Caller says, another person given the boot was a woman “who took part in an armed robbery, then kept her job while she was in jail, and continued to work in the hospital’s security office while wearing an ankle bracelet.”
“She was suddenly fired Tuesday for misconduct, including being absent without leave and failing to disclose other arrests on her job application, which her background check apparently did not catch.”
VA administrators had spent months denying any claims that many of its top officials had criminal histories, and were continuing their criminal behavior in leadership roles in the agency.
When evidence to the contrary was discovered, the VA administration lied to Congress about the extent of corruption at VA offices all over the country, and made the statement that “it was impossible to fire employees for off-duty crimes.”
The firing of two corrupt officials at Veterans Affairs in Puerto Rico is only the tip of the iceberg.
Investigation into the agency’s corruption uncovered dozens of VA employees across the country with violent criminal backgrounds, cases of fraud and embezzlement, and thousands of instances of veterans not receiving proper care — or any care at all — due to negligence on the part of employees.
And not only did these officials not do their jobs to aid our veterans, their shoddy work was rewarded time and again with hefty taxpayer-funded bonuses.
Last fall, USA Today reported on rewards doled out to agency executives — including those already under investigation for corrupt practices:
More than 300 senior executives of the troubled agency received $3.3 million in bonuses, for an average payment of about $10,000 each. The non-executives received about $900 on average.
Among those receiving bonuses was the former top VA official in Ohio who retired the same day he received a notice he was going to be fired. Another was the former chief of staff at the Phoenix VA Medical Center who received a bonus four months before he was fired.
During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump outlined a broad plan of reform for the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs.
Trump declared on his campaign site that his administration would:
Ensure our veterans get the care they need wherever and whenever they need it. No more long drives. No more waiting backlogs. No more excessive red tape. Just the care and support they earned with their service to our country.
Support the whole veteran, not just their physical health care, but also by addressing their invisible wounds, investing in our service members’ post-active duty success, transforming the VA to meet the needs of 21st-century service members, and better meeting the needs of our female veterans.
President Trump’s 10-point plan also specifically addressed concern about the corruption within VA leadership, with most of his plan addressing corruption of the agency’s employees.
Among Trump’s promises for VA reform include ridding the agency of any employee committing wrongdoing on the job, or in their personal life, and protecting whistleblowers at the agency who bring employee corruption to light.
The VA reform plan includes promises to:
Appoint a VA Secretary whose sole purpose will be to serve veterans. Under a Trump Administration, the needs of D.C. bureaucrats will no longer be placed above those of our veterans.
Use the powers of the presidency to remove and discipline the federal employees and managers who have violated the public’s trust and failed to carry out the duties on behalf of our veterans.
Ask that Congress pass legislation that empowers the Secretary of the VA to discipline or terminate any employee who has jeopardized the health, safety or well-being of a veteran.
Create a commission to investigate all the fraud, cover-ups, and wrong-doing that has taken place in the VA, and present these findings to Congress to spur legislative reform.
President Trump campaigned on the promise to protect and honor the veterans who have kept America safe, and he has begun to put his plan in effect to “Drain the Swamp” of corrupt federal bureaucrats.
The termination of two of the most corrupt officials in the agency in just the first week of Trump’s presidency shows he is going to quickly honor his promise to help the nation’s veterans.