In an email to coworkers today, acting Under Secretary for Benefits (USB) Thomas Murphy announced he is no longer the acting USB, and no longer working from Washington DC in Central Office. The announcement comes one week after IG released a whitewashed report that implicates Murphy and his subordinates in a contract deal gone bad.

Instead, Murphy is taking a new position as Midwest Area Director out of St. Louis.

Yes, this is a demotion on its face, but there is more to the story.

It comes as no surprise that Murphy lost his spot since he was not selected as a nominee for confirmation to run Veterans Benefits Administration, but his punt out of Central Office may surprise some following the IG report release that confirms at least some allegations of wrongdoing under Murphy’s watch.

(I plan to cover that next week with an inside report.)

Insiders familiar with the move say, under anonymity, that Murphy orchestrated a job for himself to protect his retirement since he lacked the number of years necessary to earn such. That means, Murphy, a well known Agent Orange denier, will never been held accountable for his direct actions wrongly denying severely disabled veterans the benefits to which they are entitled.

The move basically insulates Murphy from being called to the House Committee on Veterans Benefits and so long as he keeps his nose clean will ensure his retirement. Normally, such a move would be a demotion, but it is instead more akin to what Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves orchestrated for themselves.

In 2015, Graves and Rubens got hot water for orchestrating their own demotions by removing subordinates and taking the reigns at St. Paul RO and Philadelphia RO, respectively. The two fraudulently accepted moving bonuses reserved only for senior executives who are moved as a result of a management decision outside their control.

Think Murphy will try to avail himself to a moving bonus?

Murphy quickly ascended the ranks within VA after reportedly contributing to the campaign of former President Barack Obama. He ran the San Jose VA Regional Office two years after 2008 and was selected to run Disability Compensation by former Under Secretary of Benefits Allison Hickey. Hickey resigned as a direct result of political pressure for allowing the Graves / Rubens move.

RELATED: Under Secretary Pay To Play

Murphy was promoted to run both Compensation & Pension under Danny Pummill. Pummill then stepped down for his role in the Graves / Rubens move.

RELATED: Tone Deaf DAV Recognized Murphy For “Outstanding” Veterans Advocacy

Since 2016, Murphy has run Veterans Benefits Administration. He was considered by the Trump Administration to be formally confirmed into that role but the suggestion was rejected once the Trump team reportedly learned of Murphy’s support for Obama.

RELATED: Trump To Replace Murphy, Finally

Thomas Murphy Demotion Letter

From: Murphy, Thomas, Acting Under Secretary for Benefits
Sent: Friday, May 11, 2018 2:07 PM
To: VBACO_VBA_ALL_USERS
Subject: VBA Update

VBA Team and Partners,

I want to take this opportunity to let you know that my time as your acting Under Secretary is coming to a close after nearly two years, but my VBA journey is not over. My next call to serve takes me to St. Louis to assume the role of Midwest Area Director.

The VBA mission is personal for me. I have always had one priority in my service to this organization: Mission first. In July of 2016, I was asked to be the Acting Under Secretary for Benefits. I was honored to be asked, and I accepted wholeheartedly. I now accept the new position before me as the Midwest Area Director with the same motivation and desire to serve as you have always shown me.

I always felt that my most important role as Acting Under Secretary was to support you and the Department as we worked to improve the lives of Veterans and their families. The list of your accomplishments is noteworthy, ranging from improving claims processing in the National Work Queue environment, implementing Decision Ready Claims, revamping the pre-discharge program to reduce processing times for transitioning Servicemembers and most recently, your production efforts leading to the lowest backlog number in modem history. At the same processing times for transitioning Servicemembers and most recently, your production efforts leading to the lowest backlog number in modern history. At the same time many of you were setting production records across Comp, you were helping every single business line achieve records in benefit delivery to Veterans and their families in Education, Pension and Fiduciary, Loan Guaranty, Voc Rehab, and Insurance. And we did this through the support of Acquisition, Facilities, OBPI, Human Capital, PA&I, and ED&T. The list could go on and on. I want to thank you for your hard work and commitment to keep going, even under the most challenging of circumstances. 

I’ve traveled to regional offices across the country and watched you put this good work into practice for Veterans every day. I know as we welcome aboard Paul Lawrence, our new Under Secretary for Benefits, you will continue to serve as impressively as you always have. Mr. Lawrence is a Veteran himself who believes in our mission and will be equally committed to VBA’s success. I know we will all give him the utmost support as he takes the helm.

It has been the greatest honor of my career to serve as your Acting Under Secretary for Benefits. I look forward to continuing to be a part of such a dedicated team with the noblest mission in government.

Thank you,

Tom

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11 COMMENTS

  1. From a post last week regarding Murphy and the VAOIG report:

    Office of Inspector General Veterans Affaris
    May 2nd, 2018

    Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) caught spending money appropriated by Congress to pay Veterans benefits was illegally spent in another VA IT scam. More than $11 million dollars.

    “https://www.va.gov/oig/pubs/VAOIG-16-04555-138.pdf”

    Worth noting is the fact that the misappropriations of Veterans Benefits funds occurred while none other than, Agent Orange Denier, J. Thomas Murphy was Acting Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Benefits in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    Mr. Murphy claimed that he misappropriated the funds because the person he had replaced ok’ed the misappropriation. Although his predecessor says they never approved the stealing of Veteran’s benefits funding to fund any Illegal scams Murphy is running.”

    • An interesting note on the VAOIG.

      Currently most of the functions covering the front page access to recent reports by the VAOIG are down.

      In the past that action at the VAOIG website preceded major VAOIG reports of wrong doing at a higher level. Could it be they are about to release a report concerning Thomas Bowman. Who we all know is on his way out the door.

      A backdoor link to access current reports while the front page access is down is at:

      “https://www.va.gov/oig/apps/info/OversightReports.aspx”

      • Seymore,
        I tried the site.
        It said I quote; “…didn’t have authority to access va.gov…”!

        Is that what you get!

      • Hey Elf,

        The site lets me right in and I donot have any special access to the site. But while checking I found that the Front page of the VAOIG is now fully functional again.

        That is located at: “https://www.va.gov/oig/default.asp”

    • Also worth noting is the conclusion and recommendation made by the VAOIG in the report.

      VAOIG Recommedation:

      “Lastly, the OIG recommended the Executive in Charge for Benefits coordinate with the Office of Information Technology, the Office of Management, and the Office of General Counsel, to make accounting adjustments to debit the information technology account and credit the general operating expense account, determine whether Antideficiency Act violations occurred, and report violations as appropriate.”

      Overall Conclusion:

      “OTEEI has a responsibility to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars to help ensure VBA properly expends funds to provide benefits to veterans. However, while working with CALIBRE, OTEEI committed statutory violations, totaling about $11.7 million in improper payments. OTEEI also committed a purpose statute violation and may have violated the Antideficiency Act, pending the adjustments to its appropriation accounts.”

      ________________

      The Antideficiency Act prohibits federal employees from: making or authorizing an expenditure from, or creating or authorizing an obligation under, any appropriation or fund in excess of the amount available in the appropriation or fund unless authorized by law. 31 U.S.C. § 1341(a)(1)(A).Aug 3, 2016

  2. There’s an old saying; *”A leopard can’t change its spots!”*
    Murphy is/was/and will always be a crook. It’s his nature. Once at his new job, how many want to bet he’ll figure out some new scheme to put taxpayers monies into his bank account (wherever it is)!

    Same with Bowman. He’s just like the rest of the miscreants at VA. All they care about is getting money and power over anyone and everyone around them. The more money, the more power – that’s their philosophy!

    #fuckva
    #fuckafge
    #Bowman
    #fuckMurphy

    They’re all fuckwads!

  3. cj ¯¯̿̿¯̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿̿)͇̿̿)̿̿̿̿ ‘̿̿̿̿̿̿\̵͇̿̿\=(•̪̀●́)=o/̵͇̿̿/’̿̿ ̿ ̿̿

    Looks like Murphy is a denier of more than just AO. Nothing is ever this jackasses fault. And once again the deck is shuffled, and Murphy gets to evade, and profit.

    When was this swap going to start draining?

    Fuck all you VA Federal Dick Wrestlers.

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    .:.:.: : : : :” : : : : \, . .HAND. .,/ : : : : “: : : : :.:.:.
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    • cj ¯¯̿̿¯̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿̿)͇̿̿)̿̿̿̿ ‘̿̿̿̿̿̿\̵͇̿̿\=(•̪̀●́)=o/̵͇̿̿/’̿̿ ̿ ̿̿

      Hows that for a couple of Ding Dongs?

  4. Another good one
    Benghazi Whistleblowers – The story behind the cover up CTM #670
    “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCZVOFAvcWo”

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