Fired Head of Veterans Affairs Office in Phoenix About To Be Rehired
Out: Nothing so permanent as a temporary government program. In: Nothing so permanent as a job in which you oversee fake waiting lists that lead to deaths.
d news for at least one unemployed person in America!
Sharon Helman, who oversaw the Phoenix office for Veterans Affairs—the one that created phony waiting lists to avoid oversight and criticism and whose exposure by CNN prompted a new law—is probably going to get rehired. Forget for the moment that "Helman plead guilty earlier this year to not reporting $50,000 in gifts she received from a lobbyist seeking business with the VA, including a car and a $5,000 check." And hell, let's forget what was going on in the Phoenix office that she headed up: An investigation discovered at least 3,500 vets stuck on secret waiting lists so they wouldn't be counted on official lists that tracked how quickly former soldiers got treatment. At least a few dozen of the vets died while on such lists.
Sharon Helman, who is suing the federal government to win her old job back, is arguing that a key portion of the reforms passed in the wake of the scandal is unconstitutional and denies her an important step to appeal her firing. [Attorney General Loretta] Lynch alerted House Republican leaders Tuesday that the Justice Department will continue fighting against Helman's reinstatement but is ceding that important argument to her.
For once, it's easy to agree with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), famously a vet himself:
"When President Obama signed into law this bill which provides greater authority to fire senior VA leaders who deny and delay care of our veterans, he stated: 'If you engage in an unethical practice, if you cover up a serious problem, you should be fired. Period,' " McCain said in a statement. "The administration's decision not only undermines the law that Congress passed and the president supported, but sends a clear message that for President Obama and Attorney General (Loretta) Lynch, the sanctity of a federal bureaucrat's job is far more important than the health and well-being of our veterans."
Hat Tip: Mike Hewlett
And suddenly the plummeting belief in government doing the right thing all or most of the time, currently limping in at 19 percent, makes more sense (again). The only question is, What's below 0 percent?
In 2014, Reason TV traveled to Phoenix and met with Concerned Veterans for America's Dan Caldwell, who told problems at the VA weren't caused by lack of resources but by a shortage of accountability. Watch now: