February 13, 2024

Veterans’ Affairs Committee Democrats Statement on Tomorrow’s Hearing on Sexual Harassment Allegations

Press Contact

Libby Carlson

WASHINGTON, DC – Today a spokesperson for the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Democrats released the following statement in advance of Wednesday’s Full Committee Hearing on the investigation into the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)’s Office of Resolution Management, Diversity and Inclusion (ORMDI): 

“We agree that allegations of sexual harassment or any misconduct must be taken extremely seriously. But the Republican’s release from February 5th on the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection (OAWP) findings is misleading. In fact, OAWP’s report found: 

  • No evidence of widespread sexual harassment or ‘sexual promiscuity’ in ORMDI 
  • The identified misconduct of having inappropriate relationships was limited to two non-senior leaders, and they have been recommended for discipline by VA 
  • There is evidence that senior leaders could have responded more speedily to complaints, and OAWP has recommended that senior leaders receive training or other disciplinary actions 

After reviewing hundreds of thousands of pages of documents and interviewing witnesses ourselves, Democratic staff agree with OAWP’s findings. Staff have recommended the Committee engage in oversight to ensure processes for addressing employee concerns are strong and employees are better educated about avenues for complaints. We will also hold new Human Resources Administration and ORMDI leadership accountable for instituting stronger policies to prevent these issues from happening again. 

Committee Republicans continue to play judge, jury and executioner based on cherry-picked information and without affording individuals accused of misconduct the due process they are owed.  

The Committee has departed from the norms of conducting a thorough and objective congressional investigation. It remains to be seen whether this work can be salvaged into anything that can support meaningful oversight.”