Veterans

Not Even a Criminal Referral to the Dept. of Justice Can Get You Fired From the V.A.

Two Dept. of Veterans Affairs officials to return to work after scamming the agency for personal gain.

|

Two senior Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officials accused of scamming the agency for personal financial gain were demoted on Friday, according to a statement released by the VA.  Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves, formerly senior executives, are now "general workers" within the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) as a result of an investigation that concluded the duo had "misused their positions of authority for their own personal benefit." 

According to the report released by the VA's inspector general (IG) earlier this fall, Rubens and Graves coerced lower-ranking managers to transfer jobs against their will. The pair would then fill the vacant positions themselves. This coercion allowed them to transfer to positions with lower responsibility while keeping their executive pay. Rubens received $181,497 as director of the Philadelphia regional office for the VBA; Graves was paid $173,949 as manager of the St. Paul, Minnesota, regional office.

The scheme also enabled them to rack up almost $400,000 in relocation allowances, courtesy of American taxpayers. 

The IG report made criminal referrals to the Department of Justice for both women.

Rubens and Graves appeared before a Congressional committee this month; however, they withheld their testimony by invoking the Fifth Amendment.

In light of the findings, many in the veteran community are wondering why the women were demoted and not outright fired.

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, released a statement Friday:

Rubens and Graves clearly should have been fired. The fact that VA leaders refused to do so gives me no hope the department will do the right thing and take steps to recover the more than $400,000 taxpayer dollars Rubens and Graves fraudulently obtained. To add insult to taxpayers' injury, VA rewarded Graves with a bonus of more than $8,000 just this year and department officials don't even support commonsense legislation that would allow VA to recoup it. 

According to Stars and Stripes, a House committee staffer said "the VA is not taking steps to recoup the relocation benefits and both executives will continue to earn well over $100,000 a year."

If a damning investigation and a criminal referral to the Department of Justice isn't enough to get you fired from the VA—or, at the very least, demoted to a pay grade under $100k—what is?

For more on the crisis at the VA, check out Reason TV's 2013 documentary, "Is Government Bureaucracy Failing Our Vets?"

Advertisement

NEXT: Kelly Thomas' Father Gets $4.9 Million in Settlement

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “The IG report made criminal referrals to the Department of Justice for both women.”

    It’s a war on womenz!

  2. Fired, schmired! Why weren’t they indicted?

  3. Oh c’mon, they only fucked over the taxpayers, that practically makes it a victimless crime. It’s not like somebody wasn’t going to waste that money one way or another.

    1. As potential juror, I would accept that defense.

  4. The IG report made criminal referrals to the Department of Justice for both women.

    Whoa… stop right there.

  5. In light of the findings, many in the veteran community are wondering why the women were demoted and not outright fired.

    Isn’t this exactly what the two did in abusing their positions of authority? They demoted themselves while retaining executive salaries?

    1. i’ll be impressed if they argue that they were just trying to overcome the $0.70 on the dollar gap.

    2. It sounds like they were demoted below the level of executive and their self imposed demotions were in duty and responsibility levels not executive pay levels.

      Still stinks though.

  6. Nothing left to cut!

  7. Single Payer Health Care for the win!

  8. I thought skimming cash was a job requirement

  9. Don’t worry. There will be accountability because… elections.

  10. “What about the greed in the private sector? CEOs get paid 100 times as much to run their company into the ground and escape with golden parachutes while the workers lose their jobs.If it wasn’t for the Republicans’ draconian cuts to the health and well-being of our veterans these public servants would receive fair compensation and we wouldn’t have this phony scandal”.

    Do I pass the Turing test?

    1. Almost – but you need to dial down the sarcasm.

    2. I simply cannot get serious about any analysis that doesn’t include Global Warming. It is, quite simply, the greatest threat to humanity, nay, the entire globe, evah!

  11. My father always said go work for the government. The benefits and perks are endless.

  12. Wasn’t Obama supposed to put an end to the mess in the VA?

    The Lightbringer has coal for hands looks like.

    1. coal? racist!

    2. Coal for hands? What an odd expression. Never heard it before – what does it mean?

  13. If a damning investigation and a criminal referral to the Department of Justice isn’t enough to get you fired from the VA?or, at the very least, demoted to a pay grade under $100k?what is?

    Donating to the wrong political parties, probably.

  14. “Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, released a statement Friday:”

    It’s too bad that an influential member of the House of Representatives can’t do anything to get these misbehaving officers of the United States removed from their jobs.

    Can anyone else think of anything? Because I’m stumped.

  15. VA rewarded Graves with a bonus of more than $8,000 just this year

    “VA” did not reward Graves. *People* did, and they should be fired.

  16. “Criminal Referral”.

    Is that something they can use on their CV when applying for their next government job?

  17. “According to Stars and Stripes, a House committee staffer said “the VA is not taking steps to recoup the relocation benefits and both executives will continue to earn well over $100,000 a year.””
    Demoted…
    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  18. Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, released a statement Friday:

    Rubens and Graves clearly should have been fired. The fact that VA leaders refused to do so gives me no hope the department will do the right thing and take steps to recover the more than $400,000 taxpayer dollars Rubens and Graves fraudulently obtained.

    In related news, Reb. Jeff Miller will do his part in institutionalizing this behavior by refusing to take any action against said “VA leaders”.

    Also related, the voters of Miller’s district will do their part…. etc.

    1. “Until death do our part.”

  19. Fewest posts on a PM links evah.

  20. In the real world (read non-government employment) the two would have been fired long ago (and probably prosecuted).

    That is why we can’t trust big government. The smaller the role of government in the running of the world, the better.

    Miscreants like Charles Rangel and Donald Trump (to name but two – there are many others) can not be entrusted with the power to govern our nation.

  21. Ah, the wonders of the civil service.

  22. And of course Congress does nothing to change it.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.