Is Your DNA Sequence Safe? Removing PII Is Not Enough

Despite promises from VA, our DNA sequences are no longer safe even if the agency removes your PII from health records used by private companies like Google.

Over the past few years, various VA secretaries have expanded private company access to veteran health records promising veterans their identity is safe one PII is removed. That is how VA is selling enrollees for the Million Veteran Program.

Supposedly, the agency pulls your DNA from a blood sample and related information while removing personally identifiable information (PII). Once this happens, according to VA, the veteran’s identity is safe.

But as far back as 2013, researchers have known that sequencing DNA by private companies is actually putting everyone at risk. With a sample of a person’s DNA and some basic facts gleaned from medical records can reveal where they live and how old they are.

At that time, it was well known that once 3 million Americans upload their DNA into a database like or 23andME, that nearly everyone in the country would be identifiable by their DNA alone and a few clues such as data in a health record.

That was in 2013.

Now, companies like Facebook want access to health care records with PII removed to experiment. They want to see if they can reverse engineer masked health records by comparing the information in the record against user data. Once the person is identified, it would seem, Facebook could then market health care and related services to that person.

RELATED: Facebook To Stop ‘Top Secret’ Hashing Plan

Of course, that is not exactly how Facebook is selling the plan. Instead, they say they want to use their data to detect certain ailments ahead of standard systems. That all may sound well and good, but that is ultimately not the end goal.

Likewise, Google’s foreign AI company called DeepMind is accessing veteran data to better detect certain eye conditions. Again, that may sound well and good, but I think we all know better at this point.

RELATED: Google Company To Data Mine Million Veteran Program For App

In the VA – Google press release, former Secretary David Shulkin promised veterans the plan was safe since PII would be removed, but antiquated notions of PII have not kept up with advances in artificial intelligence that can easily de-mask information using a combination of databases.

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  1. Molly, BS.
    “All this sounds like a great reason to stay the hell away from the VA. Oh & Ben you forgot about HIPAA…. your medical information is protected. Facebook or Google or anyone you don’t give permission to can be in your medical records or face severe penalties. Come on Ben you’re a lawyer too. You should know this.”

    Laws like HIPPA, Dis Acts, etc., don’t mean shit when no-one, no agency, no LEOS, not politicians, med boards, et al, ignore complaints and refuse to do a damn thing about any corrupt or professional misconduct to activist pretending to be health care professionals being above the law and married to political filth and more. Not every case or individual out there has the same advantages be it money, sex, connections, or how corrupt their state and town may be. If people think we have rock solid laws and people out there to help us all, or the targets dealing with years of retaliation from various angles are living in la la land or drinking way too much bong water left over from the sixties.

    There is plenty of info out there about smart crap with dedicated chips to do whatever. Anything can be hacked and every pervert, thug, activist, hacker out there knows it. We don’t have to allow them to do anything. Or is it like the secret “non-existent” contract some of us were told to sign for pain meds but also to allow the VA to “force us” to take and do whatever they desired.

  2. First of all if you didn’t do MVP you don’t have to worry. They repeatedly tried to force me into MVP & several times made appointments to do it. I simply refused to go to those appointments. When they tried to yell @ me for no show no call I said I already told you I’m not doing that program. It’s not my fault you made an appointment I told you I didn’t want. After the 3rd no show, they finally got the hint.

    Y’all can counteract all this by 2) things 1) use the dark net for everything you don’t want to be tracked. 2) Turn your phone’s tracking settings off in regards to adverts.

    Oh & stop buying Google phones!!!! I don’t use anything Google. I also refuse to let Alexa in my house because they’re constantly recording you & everyone in your house. Snowden’s info is way outdated. We’re lightyears ahead of Snowden’s leak now.

    If you’re going to DNA use 23 & Me as they are bound by EU’s new privacy laws. You are given the option of opting out of them selling your DNA.

    All this sounds like a great reason to stay the hell away from the VA. Oh & Ben you forgot about HIPAA…. your medical information is protected. Facebook or Google or anyone you don’t give permission to can be in your medical records or face severe penalties. Come on Ben you’re a lawyer too. You should know this.

  3. We need a systemic & systematic study of which of the US Administration Departments is the very most hopelessly rotten corrupt and should be zero-budgeted immediately!

    DVA & DOD are my suggested top candidates for initiating these studies: not that they should get funding for the studies; rather, that five significantly different research institutions should be awarded, after all proposals are submitted, one million dollars to present their findings in public.

    What, for example, if we gave those five individual non-US Government research institutions that money, and prevented Congress (read: the lobbyists who pull Congressional [both houses] strings) from hiding the results?

    Why Congress will not fund that study: every one of those rotten corrupt bipartisan sleaze bags knows exactly who they are. They call themselves moronic things, like “bipartisan” and “centrist” and “moderate” and “working across the isle” or “working with the other side” when there is nothing bipartisan about them but name and the name-calling they both cultivate with all ill-considered speed.

    Maybe we vets can muster a company to interest some self-annointed billionaire divines (Soros, Steyer, Bloomberg, Gates, Buffett, et. al.,) to do that funding, and publish the offerings to the institutions so that we all know when those billionaire sleaze-bags are attempting to pull off some divine intervention in the research results.

  4. You spin me right round, baby
    Right round like a record, baby
    Right round round round
    You spin me right round, baby
    Right round like a record, baby
    Right round round round

    I want to remain hopeful that, as a result of these unfortunate circumstances, our eyes are opened and we take action for improving our governement and fighting corruption! Keep on keeping on.


  5. @Seymore Klearly,
    The second story you posted “” is precisely the practitioner experience model too many sc patients go through at VHA facilities. Later in the story, it is brought to light that the VA can not be sued in this case, because the primary practitioner is a contracted individual. That alone has me mulling several questions. Does anyone have answers or ideas?

    ⦁ How does one find out if their practitioner (most are likely some type of nurse) is a VHA hired employee or a VHA hired contractor?
    The information on VHA “Our Providers” link, gives far less information about their providers than the previous version, which leads me to conclude a much larger percentage of VHA practitioners are actually temps being posed to be seen as actual VHA medical provider employees. In my lay-persons thinking, I see that as a form of fraud and that should be a legal consideration in granting some remedy regarding the case in the story.

    These contractors are apparently given free reign to wreak havoc with the medical records and the very lives of sc patients. The way I see it, upper managers and support staff are very soon to be the only VHA employees in the medical facilities. There seems to have been a concerted effort to insure that the VHA medical staff never diagnoses anything that can’t be fixed in one visit or in the case of a sc patient assured that there is no medical help to avoid passing in a matter of months. Of course, the VHA contractors are going to be held harmless. Would we expect less from the former Bureau of War Risk Insurance?

    ⦁ How many highly qualified new medical practitioner applicants are turned away from being directly hired by VHA and told instead to go through an agency?
    It is common practice now for factories and other operations, to utilize “hiring agencies” for their staffing needs. Most of them are not in any respect, the high end “head-hunter” types anymore; those are incredibly costly to use for sc patient care hires. Some mom & pop small town type of operation near any VHA facility is likely haunting the small independent for-profit colleges grabbing up as many hopefuls as they can sway to position themselves to the VHA way of doing harm. College loans are expensive.

    As a note to the readers that are not/not yet VHA patients and thought the teenage cliques were a maze to navigate… you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

    1. Good Points and Great Questions Rosie!

      As it stands more than 90% of Doctors working in VA facilities are not hired by the VA but are contracted through mostly the Medical schools that they are attending. The medical schools are generally in full control of the VA medical facility they are connected to. Although not verified it is also likely they are in full control of the Nursing staff also.

      In checking some links to supply which show that I am correct in my statements I found info I need to further pursue. The links I was looking for were for a statement filed on line by a former VA chief of Staff Dr. Barbara Kemeck in her Whistle blowers complaint against VAMC Cinn. Her statement fully deals with this subject.

      I will be writing more on the subject latter tonight and will post here by tomorrow.

      But in the mean time here are a few articles that show what Dr. Kemeck has been through with the VA for speaking out. Also a little bit about the corruption at she was faced with and how it has totally run wild after she was removed. She really is a hero for Veterans!


      Cincinnati judge throws out drug conviction against former Cincinnati VA official
      Anne Saker, Cincinnati Enquirer Published 11:46 a.m. ET July 30, 2018 | Updated 3:43 p.m. ET July 31, 2018


      Criminal Blockbuster: Cincinnati VA Surgeon Says Shulkin Involved In Retaliation
      By Benjamin Krause –
      January 4, 2018


      Cincinnati VA turmoil: 3 patients sent elsewhere when surgery department closed for 4 days
      Anne Saker, Cincinnati Enquirer Published 12:55 p.m. ET June 11, 2018 | Updated 3:23 p.m. ET June 11, 2018


      Another management shakeup in Cincinnati VA health system
      Sixth leadership change in 18 months
      Dan Monk, Mark Greenblatt, 5:00 AM, Jun 11, 2018


      Most important!!!

    2. @Seymore Klearly,
      Thanks for the links and reminders about Dr. Temeck’s situation.
      I have just been driving myself batty trying to understand why so many sc patients are snowballed each and every time they seek care. I know there are tons of speculative responses by many that have been hashed out here on the blog, I’ve brought up a couple of them myself. This contractor thing though, seems to be a bell ringer! I can see the Uni connected VHA facilities having a lock on Professorial Doctors and the Residents and deer-in-the-headlights students learning to take patient notes for the first time and so forth.

      The deeper question I have relates to the smaller facilities that aren’t Uni research connected but, are maybe in the less than 500K population cities with just enough facility for out patient surgeries, bankers hours emergency care, and maybe 20 or 30 specialty clinics that take appointments for a few days in a month. Those facilities might be ripe for choosing contracted medical staff, especially nurses that dole out primary care. If they are contractors, they may have myriad reasons for not providing the standard of care they would have to provide in the real world, without VA protections.

      Someone at a VHA facility mentioned that the practitioner that orders the test is responsible for the patient care of the results, or something in that vein. Given how long it can take to get specialty appointments at VAMC’s or through Choice has me wondering if that lack of proper test requests, factor into a bulk of the unnecessary frustration put upon the patient. If the contractor is ultimately held harmless…

  6. Off-Topic…maybe newsworthy !!
    (1) A legal scholar could use some assistance; Law professor Eugene Volokh is doing a research article entitled: “Questions about the Federal Circuit sealing and redacting practices in Veterans benefits cases. ” This story was posted on October 10, 2018.
    (2) The Professor is asking: “Might any of you folks have some knowledge about this subject.”
    (3) I don’t have any knowledge on this issue…maybe Disabled does. Maybe commenters do.
    (4) I think Professor Volokh’s area of practice is First Amendment case law, Justice Antonin Scalia cited an article by the professor in the case known as: “District of Columbia v. Heller ( 2008 ).
    (5) Professor Volokh runs the website known as “Volokh Conspiracy.” You may find additional stories at Washington Post and website
    (6) Final comment: If Veterans ever put together a Class Action suit…the professor might be the person to help us.

  7. So what is a veteran to do? Does an individual request information as to what the status of their DNA is? Do you ask for data dumps to obtain information? Do you file a freedom of information request? Seriously, how do you find out what has happened to your personal data and how do you retract it?

  8. Sounds like a class action lawsuit against the VA.

    Know any. If any veteran have been accused and punished by the Disruptive committee.

    Within the last year, post here so I can post an attorney phone number, they are willing to File a class action lawsuit against the VA concerning the VA Disruptive committee.

    If you know someone who has been falsely accused and punished and the VA did not offer dispute resolution, you are the veterans needed.

    The Attorneys are prepared to help veterans. We owe it to the younger veterans to stop the VA from punishing anyone.

    The VA has stripped away all of the veterans civil, human and constitutional rights away when they play Court and deny veterans due process of law.

  9. “”

    Might as well hang up those things called personal, private, secure, safe, etc. Was gone long ago. Too many hands in the pies called records, files, reports, pharmacy and all kinds of back-ground checks and on it goes. Even Jesse Ventura done a segment on his program “Conspiracy Theories” about the elite and secret corporate groups having full access to anything they want and it’s all spread around as need be or wanted. Those interviewed made the secret police and informants in the old Soviet Union or Red China tame. That included the rats or informants that surround us on every level or social surroundings there are, including bosses to family members do so while climbing the ladders of success, position or to fit in. Guess we never really know who or what we may be dealing with.

    Then the new satellites going up with secretive hi tech super spy crap. Then all the facial recognition stuff coming our way, or been here already … to protect us all. Train stations, air ports, sports events, etc? Now wanted in public schooling, campuses, to save the children and teachers. And out in traffic or traveling. From cell phones now? We are supposed to trust who to not do what? To prevent what? Trust the VA? Some college or affiliates? “We are here to help you” government? As old as I am with all that junk going on I am required to get a red star on my drivers license proof of my American citizenship and birth record? I think they already have all they need or want from our bodies or when something is sent in for a biopsy or from any swab or colon bump cut out. They have all the samples and goods they want to spread around and use. We will never know the truth about it.

  10. It’s getting to the point that nothing is safe from prying eyes, why doesn’t Facebook use they’re own people who work for them as their ginea pigs and Google do the same, they want access because this way they have total control on ones information

  11. A few years back it was reported that the “Million Veteran” program was being handled by a Russian owned firm. That should have been ended immediately due to the concerns of an Enemy country being able to use and control the Private medical records of American Veterans. The idiot who made that decision, and Profited from it with handing away our records should be held accountable. Now with the advent of the removal of 4th Amendment protections by DNA searching of personal Medical records of all Americans the damage can not be stopped. That along with the Intel info given to Communist Russia by the traitor Snowden, who in Fact is aiding and comforting our Enemy, means our way of life is being taken/given away for the Profit of the ones who are mostly Draft-Dodgers. Those Draft-Dodgers refused to serve America, yet so many are in Congress, and they are not prone to caring for US Veterans. The former VP, under GW Bush, did say he had ‘better things to do’ as 59,000 other American men and 8 American women paid with their lives. He violated his Draft deferments a few times yet still avoided serving.The Draft-Dodgers were the “Jodys” of the Vietnam War.

    1. The Rutherford Institute has a lot of info about losing our rights, freedoms, and the spread of our info vet or not. Oh and the police state. With links to follow like..


      Snowden being a traitor is debatable. One side cries he’s a traitor and the other says it was needed whistle blowing and a hard look at our deep state and shadow government exposure others would not do.

      Slight of hand, sort of, watch this one while the other stabs us in the back. Bait and switch. Oh watch Russia Russia Russia while other countries and our so-called “allies” and friends can spy on us all and have for generations and gotten by with it most of the time. Cough… best “friends” and allies our American tax dollars and soldier’s blood for their wars can buy.

      How is it that Israel, England, Asian countries, etc., are left out of the debate or exposure of long histories of spying on us Americans and in many ways having access to military secrets to our information? Chips being used today to way back when Israel was caught having backdoors in the so-called protection software called “ZoneAlarm?” Oh but watch those damned Russians idiots today want war with. What? To fulfill some bible prophecy the evangelicals and foreigners are screeching about and want? Russia is the last direction I am concerned about… IMNSHO. And all those who have kept us in perpetual wars and benefit from it all.

      This topic and article is yet another one than can take off on so many other tangents and issues we deal with or should. Also why I post out here some of my life’s issues and how much my info has been spread, mishandled intentionally, leaked, and etc. How we are supposed to have trust in so many people, like in the hundreds or thousand, that handle or have access to any of our info they desire or want for political, activism, try to do harm or embarrass, or let us know the powers they have, or gossip about behind closed doors or at the lodge or country club. Think about it. They are countless. But the enemies call such needed info for background checks, MD checks and info needed on us, LEO checks, file released needed to investigate things that are never done but they have my info and more. And there is no FOIA that will happen to help. No laws to expose the corruption or anything about goings on behind the scenes with government agencies, locally, state, feds, VA, or with the immune SES types we aren’t allowed to know of. Personally I have run the gamut and wish there was a Snowden type locally or in the state that would expose some things or risk life and ruin like I have just for seeking some truth, expose some simple things that created mountains of problems, real health care, and justice. Which won’t happen but I sure got community wide black-balled, state, local, and fed sanctioned, from care, doing business with locals to not being able to put a small engine issue in a shop and not have it come out in running condition like before but ruined. Emergency plumbers, tree trimmers, etc., forget it when it comes to me and from those who don’t know me in person, just by the local power brokers and prominent elite types in power positions. A hospital here won’t give me copies of my own files, all claim it’s legal but the local politicians and “progressives” sure seem to have access to some of it for activist barbs or knowing my “weak points.” And believe it or not my own family members still support the lefty freaks or neocons that do this shit. While they scream for open borders, some being vets, claim the VA is just fine for them, so to hell with me and us other “whiners.”

      So much for the new America…. done been flushed generations ago.

      1. Forgot to mention. Not in good shape after leaning over making signs, doing my one man protest this morn, slipped some disk on top of other crap.

        Wait until after a while dealing with some of these freaks dealing with our records or healthcare or pharmacy checks to see if we are criminals, are told… ‘not to expect much privacy today. Includes private phone numbers, health record, insurance to credit reports, voting records, political interest, hobbies, purchasing habits, or investigative reports,’ that so many demand is required today. Lovely isn’t it?

  12. Google has been entirely up my ass ever since I did a search for a good gastrointestinal specialist…

  13. Just had a DOJ Attorney file, without redacting, a document with my C number to the 10th and send it to me by Email. You would know better than to do that, wouldn’t you, Ben?

  14. What “Promises”? The “promise” to send vets to an early grave? That’s all we veterans seem to be getting! All while those at the top receive taxpayers monies!

  15. Veterans are sleeping in their cars at VA medical centers
    By Caleb Parke | Fox News October 10, 2018

    “U.S. veterans are forgoing treatment at Veterans’ Affairs clinics due to the high cost of lodging in some areas, but one group has a solution.”

    Full Article At: “”

  16. VA owes veterans housing allowances under the GI Bill, forcing some into debt
    “You can count on us to serve, but we can’t count on the VA to make a deadline,” one veteran said.
    by Phil McCausland / Oct.07.2018 / 11:00 AM GMT

    Full Article At: “”

  17. Former Thousand Oaks insurance agent sentenced for stealing $187K in veterans benefits
    Megan Diskin, Ventura County Star Published 1:03 p.m. PT Oct. 12, 2018

    “A former Thousand Oaks life insurance agent was sentenced to 120 days in jail and formal probation for stealing $187,000 in veterans benefit payments, authorities said Friday.

    David Todd Neuman, 59, pleaded guilty to one count each of felony embezzlement and false impersonation for using seniors’ documents to apply for veterans services, according to the California Department of Insurance.”

    “The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department investigated the case and found that Neuman falsely represented himself as a a financial planner associated with the Department of Veterans Affairs who provided information to senior widows about survivor benefits.

    He was sentenced Oct. 5 in Riverside County Superior Court, according to state insurance officials.

    Neuman reportedly used the military records of the victims’ husbands as well as their death and marriage certificates to apply for death/survivor benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. He diverted more than $187,000 from the department to his own bank account and the victims never received any of the benefits.”

    Full Article At: “”


    The title should be banking on Veterans Deaths.

  18. “Veterans Affairs misdiagnoses and delays nearly kill SoCal veteran”
    By Rob McMillan and Lisa Bartley
    Tuesday, October 09, 2018 05:58PM

    “TEMECULA, Calif. (KABC) —
    Brian Tally is a military veteran, a husband, a father of four – and until a few years ago – a successful small business owner. Now, he spends much of his day in a beat-up recliner chair, the only relief he says from unrelenting pain.

    “There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not in pain,” Tally said. “This is the only thing that takes the pressure off my spine.””

    “Brian served four years in United States Marine Corps, but now he’s in what he calls the fight of his life.

    Brian’s downward spiral began in January 2016. Severe back pain, night sweats – he made urgent phone calls to his primary care doctor through the Department of Veterans Affairs. She prescribed painkillers over the phone.

    The pain only got worse. He went to the VA’s emergency room in Loma Linda twice. Both times – he did not get to see a doctor. And twice – no one ordered a simple blood test.

    “I was on the floor, I was in traumatic pain…I was literally in tears,” Brian recalled. “They gave me an X-ray and the VA ER in Loma Linda diagnosed me with having a low back sprain and told me to go stretch.”

    He was seen by a nurse practitioner both times, but again – no doctor.

    Brian followed up, as instructed, with his primary care physician at the VA clinic in Murrieta.

    “She looked at the two ER reports and she agreed with the original diagnosis – the two diagnoses the ER nurses gave me,” Brian said. “She told me to stretch. She ordered more pills.”

    His primary care doctor did request a consult with orthopedics, but Brian said he was unable to get an appointment. Scared and in debilitating pain, Brian and his wife paid out of pocket for their own MRI.

    “My wife made the decision,” he said. “She goes – you’re down 40 pounds, you have these crazy night sweats, you can’t use the bathroom properly – there’s something wrong. This doesn’t happen to a 39-year old guy.”

    The MRI revealed “severe spinal stenosis” – a narrowing of the spinal canal – and edema – a swelling of the spinal canal. Once Brian gave VA doctors the MRI that he paid for himself – the VA finally agreed this was more than just a back sprain – Brian needed surgery.

    But again there were more delays. The VA could not fit Brian in for surgery for nine long months.

    “If I would’ve went another month and a half, I would’ve died,” Brian said. “I would’ve died in my chair.”

    A nine-month wait was unacceptable to Brian and his wife Jenny. They pushed for an earlier surgery date and the VA agreed to pay for a surgeon outside of the VA system.


    “So, had you waited another six months, that would have been disastrous to his bone,” said orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jean-Jacques Abitbol of the California Spine Group in San Diego.

    Abitbol performed Brian’s surgery and said that MRI combined with other symptoms, including difficulty urinating, were an ominous sign and should have been a red flag to VA medical practitioners.

    “The bone at the very bottom could’ve collapsed down, he could have had permanent neurological problems – he could have been paralyzed,” Abitbol told Eyewitness News.”

    “On the operating table, the news went from bad to worse. An aggressive staph infection was eating away at Brian’s spine.

    “This kind of bacteria, if not taken care of, can get into the blood and cause what’s known as sepsis – and ultimately result in system-wide failure of the organs and ultimately death,” Abitbol said. “A term we sometimes use is ‘moth-eaten.'”

    Abitbol told Eyewitness News a blood test by the VA likely could have spotted the infection before Brian suffered permanent injury. But, again – that never happened. Severe damage to Brian’s nerves led to erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence and bowel issues – along with herniated discs in his neck, causing constant pain.

    “It’s like you’ve got an ice pick that’s being driven through your neck,” Brian said.”

    Once Brian realized the damage was permanent, he filed a medical malpractice – or tort claim – against the VA.

    But suing the federal government, or one of its agencies, is not the most straightforward process. First you have to file a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act – and then wait six months for a response or an offer to settle your claim out of court. Only then, can you file an actual lawsuit.

    “They misdiagnosed me not once, not twice, but three times,” Brian said.

    Brian followed the rules and filed a tort claim against the VA in March 2017. He then waited the required six months, before learning his claim had been shuffled to a different office as part of a “realignment” and staff reduction at the VA’s general counsel office.

    Still, Brian was hopeful because he said the new VA attorney handling his tort claim told him that a financial settlement was likely – and that an expert for the VA concluded his primary care physician had failed the standard of care.

    “She used these exact words – the VA failed to meet the standard of care and there was a breach – and that there’s liability involved and the VA is looking to settle your case,” Brian said.

    But eight months after he filed the claim, that same VA attorney dropped a bombshell. It turns out that Brian’s physician was NOT a VA employee – she’s an independent contractor for the VA, and under federal law the VA is not legally responsible for negligence by its contractors.

    The VA attorney told Brian there would be no settlement even though their expert agreed the primary care physician had failed the standard of care.

    “She has a VA badge, VA scrubs, VA computer, VA business cards – nobody would ever know the difference,” Brian said of his physician at the VA clinic in Murrieta.

    “They pulled the rug right out from underneath our feet, denied our claim on an employment status and a technicality,” he said.”

    “To make matters even worse – during the eight months it took the VA to tell Brian that his primary care physician was a not a VA employee, the California one-year statute of limitations on medical malpractice had expired – meaning he could not sue in civil court either.”

    Full Article At: “”

  19. The VA Is Refusing To Turn Over Documents To Congress About Outsiders Influencing Policy
    By Jared Keller, Task & Purpose, on October 10, 2018

    “The Department of Veterans Affairs officials are refusing to hand over documentation that could detail the undue influence of a troika of private businessmen over the department’s dealings to Congress, Military Times reports, leading the ranking Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee to rebuke the move as “an attempt to stonewall not only a member of Congress but the American public.”

    In August, a bombshell report from ProPublica detailed the influence of three acquaintances of President Donald Trump in shaping VA policy.

    Known as the “the Mar-a-Lago Crowd,” the troika consists of Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter, Palm Beach physician Bruce Moskowitz, and lawyer Marc Sherman.

    The ProPublica investigation suggested that emails from the Mar-A-Lago Crowd were effectively treated as de facto policy directives.

    In the aftermath, HVAC ranking member Tim Walz (D-Minn.) demanded the VA turn over any records of contact between the three businessmen and the and VA officials, followed by a lawsuit by left-leaning veterans group VoteVets.

    In a September hearing, newly-minted VA Secretary Robert Wilkie assured lawmakers in a September hearing that none of the three businessmen had any untoward contact with VA officials but declined to release those communications, citing “ongoing litigation alleging violations of the Federal Advisory Committee Act” that make any documents “not appropriate for release at this time.”

    For his part, Military Times reports that Walz is demanding that the VA release those communications by the end of the month. “We have received nothing from VA except excuses,” he said in a statement. The reports of corruption and cronyism are serious and we cannot allow VA to sweep this under the rug. This issue will remain a top concern of the committee until all our questions have been answered.”

    Full report at: “”

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