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RM Walz Responds To Unprecedented Attack By Acting VA Secretary O’Rourke On VA Inspector General

Jun 19, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Tim Walz (D-MN) released the following statement reacting to a threatening letter sent by Acting Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Peter O’Rourke to Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General Michael Missal:

“The letter sent from Acting Secretary O’Rourke to VA Inspector General Missal is beyond the pale, even for this administration,” said Walz. “In his letter, O’Rourke made an explicit attempt to intimidate the Inspector General and deter the VA Office of Inspector General (VA OIG) from carrying out its legal duty to hold VA officials accountable to the American people and the veterans among them. This is extremely unacceptable.” 

“Not only is O’Rourke’s letter an unprecedented attack on our democratic institutions and the independence of VA’s most central accountability and ethics watchdog, it’s also antithetical to the best interest of American veterans and is reflective of an out of control Acting Secretary possibly unfit for leadership in government service.

“Never before have I seen such an explicit attempt by a senior government official to curtail an active IG investigation. Mr. O’Rourke, nobody is above the law and it is not for you to decide when or where VA OIG exercises its investigative authority. I urge you to immediately comply with the Inspector General’s reasonable request for information regarding the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection and all future VA OIG requests. 

“In addition, I am sending a letter to Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz and National Science Foundation (NSF) Inspector General Allison Lerner, Chair and Vice Chair of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) asking for them to clarify the appropriate role of Investigators General (IG) and the importance and necessity of agency compliance with IG requests.

“Finally, I would like to extend my full support for a separate VA OIG investigation into VA’s implementation of the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act after VA employees raised concerns that VA is using the bill to inappropriately retaliate against whistleblowers, an investigation officially requested in a letter to VA OIG by my counterpart in the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Senator Jon Tester.”

  • Read VA Inspector General Missal’s Letter to Acting Secretary O’Rourke here (June 5, 2018)
  • Read Acting Secretary O’Rourke’s Letter to Inspector General Missal here (June 11, 2018)
  • Read VA Inspector General Missal’s Letter to Acting Secretary O’Rourke here (June 18, 2018)
  • Read VA Inspector General Missal’s Letter to Ranking Member Walz here (June 18, 2018)
  • Read Ranking Member Walz’s Letter to Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz and National Science Foundation (NSF) Inspector General Allison Lerner, Chair and Vice Chair of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) here (June 19, 2018)

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