Santorum Put the Screws to Elderly Veterans

Anyone watching Thursday’s Republican debate in South Carolina could not help be notice the quick “rah rah” from the politicians about veterans. Every candidate seemed to strongly support spending for military and veterans.

Romney seemed to mince his words, being unable to really differentiate between veterans spending and military spending. Ron Paul was on point, focusing on helping disabled veterans and problems with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Gingrich seemed straightforward – have a solid transition program for veterans. However, one of the four has a dirty little secret despite his onstage rhetoric.

No, the secret is not the fact that Rick Santorum’s parents were VA bureaucrats who potentially failed to fix the system most of us veterans fight, day in and day out.

Years ago, Rick Santorum helped rip off a veterans’ home of $80 million. Not

As a Congressman, Santorum showed his true colors when it comes to protecting the rights and resources set aside for disabled and elderly veterans. In the 1998 defense appropriations bill, Santorum snuck in legislation that forced the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington to sell a 49-acre tract of land for pennies on the dollar.

The land, as it would turn out, was highly coveted by the neighboring Archdiocese of Washington and its Catholic University. Rather than allowing the home to lease the land, and in turn earn $105 million over 30 years, the legislation forced the veterans’ home to sell the land for 20 percent of that amount. When asked recently about his actions, Santorum, a practicing Catholic, did not respond about the forced sale, according to a recent report from Mother Jones.

For years, the veterans’ home has struggled to make ends meet. The lease would have helped it keep up existing structure maintenance and potentially expand to meet further demand. Instead, the home has been forced to allow structures to fall into disrepair and to decrease the quality of care veterans receive. Meanwhile, Catholic University is enjoying its almost 50 acres and the veterans’ home continues to fall into disrepair.

During these coming primaries, veterans need to hold politicians like Santorum accountable. Like war heroes who die but are never forgotten, so too are deeds that cheat those same heroes from living out their last days receiving the dignity and care they deserve. Politicians need to be held accountable for shady deals that screw anyone, much less veterans, out of house and home, literally.

2012 Candidates will need to sign the Veterans Pledge. When they fail to hold up their end of the bargain, we fire them, period. And to you Rick Santorum, you’re about to be fired.

Voc Rehab Survival Guide Benjamin Krause is the creator of the DisabledVeterans.org community, author of the Voc Rehab Survival Guide for Veterans, and numerous other guides. 

Benjamin is an award winning investigative reporter, Veterans Law attorney, and a disabled veteran of the US Air Force, where he served in its Special Operations Command. After receiving an Honorable Discharge, Benjamin began his decade long fight for benefits after being lowballed with a 10% rating in 2002. During that fight, he received degrees from Northwestern University and  the University of Minnesota Law School while using VA Vocational Rehabilitation. He credits his education as the key factor that helped him beat through the bureaucratic roadblocks the Department of Veterans Affairs throws up in front of many veterans across the country.

You can connect with Benjamin on  Google+,  Twitter,  Facebook and LinkedIn.

Comments

  1. BJ Novak says

    My Uncle who just passed resided there for 18 years & vet of 3 wars including WW ll. Having visited him many times over the years & handling his burial over Christmas I can tell you there were many complaints there on cuts in service to those vets. The food was awful there. My Uncle was paying 65% of his income to GOvernment to live there which amounted to almost $23,000 a year. Yes that is much less than a private home but he also fought in 3 wars with distinguished service.The home could have really used that income from the land lease to subsidize services to those vets there. I notice the the vets & flag get used often in speeches & war then get put on the shelf. Some of the biggest cuts to the VA system came from G.W. Bush & GOP after they sent them off to war. He cut cat. 8 vets from system & House just recently tried to cut them again along with Cat.7 vets too.

  2. Swede says

    We, military and service veterans, do not need to replace one “Commander in Chief” who doesn’t care a hoot about military with another like minded “Commander in Chief”. I hope we have learned something. Go for real Hope and Change next November!

  3. Phil Bovenzi says

    I’m not surprised. Seems a Catholic business decision, like how they used the money from parishioners to pay the abused ones by priests who would then be transferred. I am beginning to feel sorry for all those older Catholics who for years donated their “Tithe”. Take Veterans land, cover-up sins, hey, it’s just binez, right! How about taxing all religious buildings? What a free ride that has been. Disgusting. And for all the Catholics really doing their God’s work, well, GBY.

  4. Larry Lesh says

    Anyone running for the Presidency who doesn’t state categorically that Vet benefits and social security are off the table for deficit cuts can forget getting elected. The voting block representing those 2 special interests will drive them out of politics.

So what do you think?