Will New VA OIG Head Take VA Watchdog Off VA Leash?

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VA OIG

Benjamin KrauseThe newly elected inspector general of Veterans Affairs’ beleaguered watchdog promises to be more transparent and to take VA OIG off the lease of VA executives.

Michael Missal began his work at VA OIG last Monday and promised to turn around the watchdog that has lately become more of a whitewash machine than one that holds VA accountable. “I feel very strongly that the public has a right to know the work of the VA IG’s office.”

This view of his organization, if adhered to, could result in more transparency and maybe even take it off the short leash of VA executives like Sloan Gibson, but will he follow through?

VA OIG TRADITION

Traditionally, the VA OIG is an independent authority. It is supposed to root our fraud and mismanagement within VA and report that mismanagement back to Congress.

However, under Richard Griffin, the watchdog took the approach of harassing whistleblowers and victims while whitewashing and burying negative reports.

In an interview, Missal said he would address problems of whitewash and cover-ups while encouraging transparency. About withholding reports like the one about Tomah VA that went unreported to Congress for almost one year, Missal plans to be more proactive.

“That’s one of the matters I’m going to be more deeply involved in.” Hopefully, his statement about involvement means Missal will get his watchdog off the leash of Sloan Gibson when investigating problems like at Tomah VA or Phoenix VA, two locations known to be engaged in year-long cover-ups.

Think he will accomplish much during the last months of President Barack Obama’s presidency? Why did the President wait so long to appoint someone?

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/05/08/veterans-affairs-inspector-general-michael-missal/84050980/

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22 Comments

  1. I think Benjamin’s ‘Bad VA Art’ today depicts this situation best. The dog may be spoken of being off the leash, but the VA simply has same dog “stuffed” do it “appears to have sharp teeth” but when one examines a bit closer one then notices that all the life-giving appearances of “OIG dog off leash” have been completely replaced with plastic parts and formaldehyde and careful stitching. The announcement sounds cool as does the display look cool, just like a good VA Spin Dr. Public Announcement…alas, the teeth no longer have any bite and the words have been pumped through a small speaker in said spokesdog’s frozen larynx.
    What’s **real** and what’s yet another “dog and pony show”?

    Yet another wait and see moment as words have little meaning at this exhausted point.

    On another note: I absolutely hated that USA Today News Link….or maybe my computer hated it the most? I was slammed with all kinds of advertising, even whilst trying to listen to the new OIG speak in that release. Then it demanded I subscribe in order to view ay content…I passed after listening several limes while other commercials were trying to sell me something over and over.
    Coincidence? I no longer believe in such things!
    That new OIG trying to speak while all this other background noise was being piped-in was actually a bit like the way the VA OIG operates currently. Say one thing and many others out their other orifice from a muffled, sitting position.
    Wait and see. Wait and see.
    Quite used to being disappointed by the VA so at least there will be no shocker when it’s determined this too, was just smoke being blown up our proverbial collective Veteran rears.

    • @namnibor
      You did notice Obama put “…a D.C. Lawyer…” in charge of the VAOIG.
      In my opinion, This is just going to be another fubar in the making!

      Did you read the comments? Not one person had anything good to say!

      • I could not get that far as far as the comments because that USA Today website is dripping with spam and ads, even with the software I have to combat that ilk, but can only imagine how colorful the comments were.
        Obama is using these latter months to totally fuxate the situation in America.
        I just also saw where some West Point Cadets, a group of all African American Woman, gave official standing with Black Lives Matter…these are Officers…did the UCMJ suddenly become toilet paper? (Obama saluted these cadets for their solidarity, BTW) 🙁

    • @namnibor
      Yea, it sure is going to get interesting from niw until 20 Jan 2017!
      I gotta feeling this crap is going to continue until someone, or many someones, cause a large horrendous attack on our country. Thereby, awakening the other sleeping idiots!

  2. Last night I talked with my buddy up in Illinois. He told me some interesting things.
    1.) the VA has been sending him to outside medical care, through the “Choice Program”, for a few weeks. These outside physicians have been better equipt to handle his “care” than VA ever was!
    2.) then he informed me of something his friends have recently had happen to them. Two veterans have received “VA letters” stating they were going to get “fiduciaries”!
    Their “shrink” says they aren’t capable of taking care of themselves.
    Their also having to “turn in any and all weapons in their possession!”
    What’s strange about this is neither were taken before a magistrate to be found incompetent.
    This also is in violation of the 1st, 2nd and 4th Amendments. They had NO “due process”!
    I informed him of what’s been happening nationwide to other vets in the same situation.

    Here’s another interesting things I’ve heard.
    A friend here in Central Florida heard from a high ranking official that many in VA are jumping ship. Because there seems to be a consensus that the VHA might not be around come this next election cycle!

    And on a side note:
    My friend said this high ranking official received a “bonus of $9,000” last year. Even though VA employees were NOT supposed to be given one!

    Ben, I think you might want to see if this is true!

    • There were other things discussed. I only wanted to give what I thought were the ‘highlights’!

      It seems to me, IF VA-OIG is really taking off the muzzle, they should want to go after everyone who has been deemed incompetent!
      Like namnibor has said, it’s another “wait and see” situation!
      Trouble is, we’ve been waiting for too damn long and not seeing one damn thing happen FOR the veterans!

      • Just like the announced by VA LAST FRIDAY close to close of business and news week, where the VA appointed in CHARGE of PURCHASING and CONTRACTS an CONVICTED Identity Thief and THUG that stole people’s credit card info from stolen mail!!!!
        Now, there’s SO much steaming poo for the VA OIG to go through, BUT these things, as well as just take the VA employee THUG still working, medical assistant at Louisiana VAMC where he beat to death via blunt force trauma a 70+ old Veteran in his hospital death???
        How about the still hid away over 100+ OIG reports on various Wait Time Scandal reports across the USA?
        How about the Tomah VAMC and the Dr. Houlihan aka Candyman fiercely appealing to get his job back and that news even hid away?
        TONS of steaming poo to go through. All talk and never any action with teeth because like the ‘dog’ in Ben’s ‘Bad VA Art’, it’s been frozen in-place and time.
        How is this going to change the very apparent situation we have in which the entire VA is on the leash of the AFGE Union? Those teeth suddenly become soapstone in that light, doesn’t it.

      • If you want a real picture of what this IG will do, watch what he does regarding whistle blowers and what they have reported. He has many cases that have been festering and ignored by his office.

  3. Do you guys think I should write to Michael Missal, About how the VA let a VA employee falsely accuse me of disruptive behavior with out requiring her to provide any proof. and how the VA kept letting her Answer any and all inquiries from Senator Bennett’s office and the DAV.

    Where the past VAMC Denver director, told Senators Bennett’s office that “due to the reporting of disruptive on James, his official medical records were never coded ICD-9 disruptive behavior nor were his official medical records ever Red Flagged and there was never any Investigation.

    When in fact they did. punish me and wrote into my records, ” This is to inform you that if the VA is ever told again that you are reported disruptive again, You will be Arrested, Federal charges placed upon you and you will be Banished from all VA care “.

    Should I mention to his office about the conversation and E-mails I had with Bob McDonalds employee Twice, told me that the Employee who reported me as being disruptive (no) longer works for the VA, when in fact she is still working and when I told his employee that the person is still working for the VA, McDonald’s employee, stopped all correspondence.

    I have the directors letter and my medical records and everything in writing what the employee told the VA, the Senators office and the DAV in her own writings. You all know that the VA can not even define what is disruptive behavior per the past OIG.

    One would think that if I had actually been disruptive and did this at least twice a month, that someone would have written some type of note to as to the disruptive Behavior, its their job to do so.

    We all know and have seen many, many veterans on this site, report that they also have been reported.

    I guess I am asking how much information I should provide to his office.

    Do you know the correct Address for him and what type of certified mail should I use to ensure he gets it and not his employee, do I put for his eyes only on the envelope.

    Any Advise on how to get to the point so this can be addressed, This would be under Gross Mismanagement right ?

    We need to make sure veterans are not being falsely accused and being punished because an employee just wants to get back at a veteran for what ever reason.

    Thanks

    • @James
      IMHO, I believe you should sit back and compile a well written letter, explaining everything in a “timeline” format.
      At each intersection give detailed information referencing each document!
      For example, when the first complaint was filed against you – reference to that document and so forth.
      Make copies. Do not send originals! At the top of each ‘copy’ write the word “copy” and what your referencing in your letter!
      You will, as you take your time compiling this, become aware there will be changes. DO NOT SEND YOUR FIRST “DRAFT”! As I’ve said, you will probably change, (delete or add), information as you write out your summary!

      When you’ve completed it, which should take some time, then send it to him. I would also suggest sending copies, each marked with a “CC” (Closed Copy), to your news medias, Congressional members and others you wish to be informed!
      Again, this is just my opinion! Others on here may have additional info they might want to give!

      Keep fighting. No one else is your best advocate than you!

      • May I add to that, crazyelf & James; in addition to ‘CC’ (carbon copy), utilize also, ‘BCC’, which stands for (Blind Carbon Copy), as the recipient will *see* whom your are ‘carbon copying’ such as a Senator, but the ‘BCC’ places speculation on your original recipient’s head because they have NO IDEA whom you’re sending that BCC to, which would usually in my case be myself, and I wanted to add that you should always set-up an email folder of ALL outgoing/incoming correspondence to make things readily available to print-out, if needed in future, since electronic communications are admissible in legal stuff, so you have evidence and paper poop trail of it all.
        Hope this helps and know if we can help in any way just ask.
        Peace.

    • Have you sustained an injury?

      Slander, and damage to your reputation because of it, is an injury. That is compensable. See if you can get a lawyer to file a motion for you under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).

      See NOLO here.

  4. If this guy Missal was “appointed” by the POTUS to this position, then you can pretty much figure he’s going to be a carbon copy of what McDonald is doing which is to sit tight, and let the storm ride itself out.

    • Let’s just pray for the public’s sake, he’s not a repeat “glass conference room public displayer of self-affection” as a recently quietly retired VA OIG was doing, giving all in D.C. a show without a dance. 🙂

  5. I’d like to know a little bit about his resume of experience. The managers cited in the newspaper are not union employees, but are the most cronyfied track coverers in the VA.

    • Just exactly how do you tell the two types sited apart from each other? Apples/Oranges; Tigers/Bears.

  6. Just more window dressing by the current administration. In the end it all mirrors the past and what will likely follow is much the same.

  7. Why did Obama wait so long? Because he recognized early in his first term that IGs should no longer be independent watchdogs when he fired 4 of them for investigating Obama cronies, and he and his thugs smeared at least 1 of them because he wouldn’t go away quietly.
    That sent a message to any other agency IG…shut up or you will lose your career and be personally destroyed.
    Obama got away with this because Congress climbed aboard his crony train. I can remember when Congress would raise 3 shades of hell over a politician interfering with an IG.
    Missal won’t do anything other than warm a seat unless he has lots of cover, or Congress shows the need for publicity in their campaigns.

  8. Is it just me? Or did the commenting widget change on Ben’s blog? I can comment and it has the usual boxes, except there now is no Subscribe box to check.

    It was always very helpful to check that box to see any additional comments or replies.

    • I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to hold my breath waiting on this new transparent OIG crap, if memory serves me correctly, Obama said the same f**ng thing. Transparent government. Don’t make me laugh so hard I fart. Too late.

      Sandy Hale, Disabled Combat Veteran

  9. Just the same old BS lines, Why does the Vets (Not the VSO’s) take this info to the media, Like the Washington, Times and any other news outlet that will and have stood by the Veterans in the past. Lets just look at Walter Reed Army Medical Center where the Families of the Veterans went to the media. Yes, justice was served there and the ARMY paid for it. Its not just what you know but who you know and where to take that information to.

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