VA Health Chief David Shulkin

WashPo: Shulkin, Staff Misled Ethics Officials Over $120k European Trip

The results are in The Washington Post and other mainstream media publications conclude the IG report shows Shulkin and his staff misled ethics officials for personal gain.

Ethics officials within VA (now that is an oxymoron) claim Shulkin’s public press release about his acceptance of Wimbledon tickets from friend cast them in a bad light for their role in approving the act.

Meanwhile, John Ullyot, VA’s assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs, told investigators that Shulkin directed him to use the language VA released to the public, but Shulkin told IG he had no idea where the public relations statement originated from.

The Secretary’s team allegedly materially altered emails that were then used to justify the expenses related to the trip that included taxpayer funding of the Secretary’s wife. Justification for the spouse to attend on taxpayer dollars was based on Shulkin supposedly receiving an award from the Dutch, which never happened.

All in, taxpayers paid around $123,000 for the trip and $4,000 for airfare related to flying Shulkin’s wife.

Something stinks about this entire soap opera, and I plan to review this entire report tonight for readers to assess tomorrow.

DOWNLOAD: Full IG Report With Evidence Of Shulkin European Trip

Preliminarily, I find it very suspicious that The Washington Post has suddenly found a new interest in writing negative news stories about VA in the past few weeks that include a slam against Thomas Bowman and now Secretary Shulkin.

Staff within the VA’s Public Affairs division including Ullyot and Curt Cashour are totally off script at this point, which seems unusual. (It is worth noting John Ullyot studied at the Pushkin State Russian Language Institute before attending Harvard.) In the investigation, Ullyot threw Shulkin under the bus – – an act that is very anti-country club of Ullyot, a true blue blood of America’s upper crust (Deerfield Academy, Pushkin Institute, Harvard University).

I would also go as far as to say it is highly queer for the General Counsel of VA, Jim Byrne, to acknowledge he failed to conduct a due diligence review of a press release concerning the European trip in September.

The IG report also includes information provided by The Washington Post concerning its interview of Secretary Shulkin concerning the trip in November. Have you ever seen The Washington Post cooperate with any kind of investigation like this?

What is also highly unusual is IG’s conclusion that VA’s statement to The Washington Post was “misleading” given that the federal government frequently misleads the press. Why does this warrant review by IG as if The Washington Post is the same as the FBI?

Last, it seems clear The Washington Post had an advanced copy of the IG report as of Monday which included the letter from Shulkin’s attorneys that was not previously available to the public but apparently The Washington Post is no longer a member of the public. Definitely review the response from Shulkin’s attorneys pages 51-66.

Also, it seems important to note the reporter with the scoop on this is Lisa Rein with contribution from Alex Horton. Some of you may recall Horton is a golden boy of VA Public Affairs who wrote the agency’s blog from 2010 to 2013. He went on to work for Washington Post.

Rein meanwhile focuses on federal workforce and problems with government management. Meaning, she writes stories sourced by AFGE.

The Washington Post is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos with deep ties to the CIA.

HuffPo: Why The Washington Post’s New Ties to the CIA Are So Ominous

I plan to address some of this later tonight, and most of you know my belief that this is a hatchet job targeting the Secretary for removal.

Since WashPo is leading the charge in the press, I am highly suspicious the endeavor is directed to shut down the expansion of Veterans Choice (venders TriWest and Health Net) and/or to interfere with the highly lucrative electronic health record contract presently awarded to Cerner.

Who stands to gain big from Shulkin and Bowman being taken out?

This matter certainly has a lot of unusual similarities to the deep state actions against Trump and his team in other matters. There is certainly more to the story.

But one thing is clear, The Washington Post is driving this narrative. Why?

IG Executive Summary European Trip

“The Office of Inspector General (OIG) received an anonymous complaint alleging that Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin and other senior leaders misused VA funds by taking an official July 2017 trip to Europe for more personal than official activities. Secretary Shulkin traveled with a group that included senior VA leaders, his wife, and a six-member security detail. The 11-day trip included two extensive travel days and three-and-a-half days of official events—with a cost to VA of at least $122,334. The VA delegation had a day-and-a-half of meetings with Danish veterans’ healthcare officials and experts in Copenhagen and attended the Ministerial Summit on Veterans’ Affairs in London. Secretary Shulkin stated that he also worked on VA matters when there were no official functions. The group’s schedule, however, included significant time for preplanned tourist activities by Secretary Shulkin, his wife, and others on the delegation.

“After a thorough investigation, OIG’s findings included (1) the Chief of Staff’s alteration of a document and misrepresentations to ethics officials caused Secretary Shulkin’s wife to be approved as an “invitational traveler,” which authorized VA to pay her travel costs (although only airfare was claimed); (2) Secretary Shulkin improperly accepted a gift of Wimbledon tickets and related hospitality; (3) a VA employee’s time was misused as a personal travel concierge to plan tourist activities exceeding that necessary for security arrangements; and (4) travelers’ documentation was inadequate to determine the trip’s full costs to VA. The OIG did not assess the value of the trip to VA or determine whether the Europe travel, as conducted, was “essential,” per VA policy.

“The OIG made five recommendations to ensure reimbursement to VA by the travelers of all unallowable expenses incurred; redress of any VA employee misconduct; and retraining of VA personnel on ethics and travel policy matters.”

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  1. This is only a fraction of the mishandling by the VA. True, we have some really uninspired leadership right now that is throwing out VistA the Open Source System that is free and owned by the people as well as being designed to be enhanced by the people at the point of care, to be replaced by a commercial system designed by programmers who have never spent a single night in a hospital talking with the people who actually have to work with the system. The Cerner commercial system has been developed in isolation from the VA hospitals and is very expensive (18 Billion at last estimate, it will go up sharply from there). VistA has been running the VA hospitals for over 40 years and has evolved to 180 different aspects of the hospital and added innovation and function that has improved health for the veterans. VistA is being used in Jordan as their National Health Package. It is being used in India and Pakistan as well as a number of other countries and community hospitals in this country. Yes, it is written in MUMPS, but MUMPS is an easy language to learn and easy to write and support. But another commercial competitor of Cerner uses MUMPS, Epic. Much of the problem with the VA came from the removal of the programmers from the hospitals, thus breaking up the Golden Pair, a subject mater expert and a programmer. These pairs of folks could turn out a new application in a night or two, and refine it in a series of weeks as compared with commercial packages that take 18 to 24 months to deliver new functionality. The commercial packages when delivered are about 2 years late for the need they are to fill.

    1. Chris Richardson: interesting that you are the first person to have mentioned the “Epic” medical program setup in your comments…..I have personal knowledge of how TOTALLY INEPT the Epic program and it’s programmers are. At least here in New England. A number of hospitals ORDERED to change over to epic in the past 4 or 5 years, or risk losing substantial amounts of (federal taxpayer) funding.

      One of the known issues with epic is there constant coersive attempts to get EVERY PATIENT to log into the online medical “control” service. What is interesting, if not wholly suspect, is that a very high percentage of people who opened the “patient portal” with epic, have suddenly become victims to numerous, if not constant cases of computer hacking, at times internet blocking, but worse, when they go in for medical appointments, they are suddenly being asked questions that have nothing to do with any medical care, but rather, on personal issues that their medical providers would have NO WAY of knowing about without snooping into the patient’s personal life….IE: monitoring their online activities via Facebook, Twitter, and even emails.

      EVEN MORE “interesting”, the company behind EPIC is the same company, (owned and operated by school mate of the former (and worst ever) female sitting in a stolen whitehouse) which wrote o’bummer care, AND is the same company behind the VA (NO-choice) programs, and health net… anyone seeing a connection here yet???

      1. va dc hq one big big federalo rico crime racket from afge union contract hell congress lap dog cowards @ potus fire sewage rat dr shit shulkin asap !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Seems like the VAIG are a little confused about Victoria Gosling the former head of the Invictus Games who gave Shulkin and his party the Wimbledon tickets.

    Victoria Gosling is also a Director at the software company Sage Group SGE. A Global Corporation. Here in the U.S. they are also a major Vendor of Software to the Veterans Administration.

    Information on one of their current contracts can be found on the VA Website at this link:

    Sage 50 (formerly PeachTree Accounting) is used through out the VA.

    When David Shulkin accepted the tickets to Wimbledon he knew he was getting them from a VA Vendor. That is a federal Felony no matter how they try to white Wash it.

    So well Victoria Gosling may not meet the legal bar for a personal friend of Shulkin and his wife. She certainly meets the legal bar for being employed by a major vendor to the Veterans Administration at the time she gave Shulkin the tickets.

    1. That raises a number of other questions like how much did Shulkin receive from her at the Invictus Games for speakers fees, personal appearances, accommodations, travel fees and the like?

  3. A very sobering though for all tax payers is that David Shulkin is currently in charge of the full 2018 Veterans Affairs Budget which is over $180 Billion of taxpayers money.

    A very sobering though for any Veteran using any Veterans Affairs Health Care. Thousands of Veterans have died due to VA Health Care and they put this criminal in charge of the deadliest Health Care System in American. How can you trust your life to this system?

    1. You fucking can’t trust this system. I’m in the process of filing complaints with any Office that will accept them. Reason; in case something happens to me, my wife will have documentation that this Veteran reached out for help. What if they don’t help, then I may be dead. VA is tossing me into a circumstance that will definitely be a life-threatening matter.

      Ben do you hear me? I’m a Biologist, train my own K9 PTSD Service Dogs, and these rotten to the core mother fuckers need to be stopped and held accountable.

      I’m totally surprised, that by now we haven’t heard about younger Veterans, who have been trained using more powerful weapons, know more about guerilla tactics, and has the knowhow of causing some hefty damage, that these fine men and women, haven’t taken it in their own hands, and to personally great these no good bass-turds out in the parking lot, just to say, “hi, here mother fucker, let me give you a taste of . . . .”

      I wouldn’t loose a bit of sleep either. And when someone would bring it up to me, I’d say that they most likely deserved it; fucking traitors.

      1. Oh I’ve thought about and planned it. But they keep feeding me like a good dog every month. If they stop, my wife knows the score will be settled.

  4. Cultural Corruption, Shulkin lacks the Moral Authority to clean up the VA (as reported on CBS Nightly News).

    POTUS Trump, get rid of this dumb ass. A disgrace to Veterans, Taxpayers, and YOU!

    1. ANutterVet,
      You saw that report too.
      Yea, I agree. Shulkin is/was/will always be a deep state operative!

  5. *~**~*~Popping Popcorn~*~**~*

    Staying tuned-in for another sequel to “Poseidon Adventure: V.A. Titanic Edition”

    1. Hey, namnibor,
      Put a little Carmel on the popcorn. Tastes better!
      At least it’ll take some of the shit outta what’s really going on!

      1. Prior to 100% dentures, I was with you on the caramel on popcorn. Drizzled chocolate, now you’re talking!

      2. I believe there is a popcorn without the hard insoluble seed coat too. Go all the way and drizzle with Ganache. May as well make it rich, that’s how the VA leadership does it extravagantly. Plus, you deserve it anyway Nam with those new choppers. lol

      3. One tip: *if* one has the extreme munchies, DO NOT be tricked by your mind that *somehow* placing Nestle Quick cocoa powder, (yes dry) on hot popcorn. Some sort of catalyst chemical change takes place. It’s *nothing* like your mind may have tried to trick you into. Just trust me on this one.
        It was also easier washing my hands after rebuilding a transmission when younger than that quicksand popcorn. It really became industrial goo.

  6. Now what I guess he’ll skate on these allegations and sweep it under the rug, this man and his entire staff are damaged goods and corrupt Trump’s administration needs to get Shulkin investigated and get him to repay what he considers authorized expenses and charge him and fire his behind

  7. I have now read both the WaPo article and the LA Times article. Both are very similar in detail.

    I agree Ben this looks like a hatchet job. There is a vast amount of detail in these news articles that normally is not included in the news on VA IG reports.

    Could it be AFGE driven? Possibly. Deep State driven? Also possibly. Driven by contractor concerns? Also very possible. Tit for tat politics because of taking out Bowman? Sure.

    I suspect its a mix of all of the above.

    This looks like the media working its way from Trump administration official to Trump administration official reporting on any scandal they can find to deflect attention from other things. If they score blood here and there, they are happy because they think it reflects on Trump being incompetent. That they have been looking at travel of several administration officials is obvious, and its even cited in these news articles.

    Now its on to security clearances of aides at the WH.

    Does “the media don’t like us” excuse any of this? Absolutely not. That is why I think it was stupid for Shulkin to open himself up to such charges. Hatchet job or not, he opened himself up. Given the mix of lies or misleading statements made to the IG, he made a problem he could have survived into something much worse.

    What’s infuriating about this in addition to the misuse of travel funds is that the IG looks to be right in the middle of this holding the hatchet.

    The media, IG, AFGE, contractors, Deep State swamp rats? All see this as a target of opportunity and are coordinating their fire.

    1. *Could* this be yet another VA self-sabotaging scheme to ensure it gets tossed-out from going anywhere and perhaps actually preventing any further digging for a potentially much larger issue with OIG working like henchmen rather than a true IG Team…and I would BET the AFGE protesting piggys have helped stir the pot’s direction to the mess we have now.
      Think Graves/Helman/Candyman/Previous VAOIG Chief Masturbator/Glass Conference Room…

      Yep, am suggesting ALL THIS is a smokescreen for something much more dire…but ANY waste of taxpayer $$ that should be going to assist Vets rather than appeasing wifey-poo with a paid trip, is inexcusable and I could give a rat’s ass how good of a Dr. he was/is before becoming VA Sec….

      VA Sec. Shulkin: Either LEAD or please LEAVE. Tell the AFGE to FU. All for the Vets!

      1. I can’t figure out why the IG is doing this. If you recall, this was discovered some time last year when the media was focussing on travel by any administration official, but before the OSC started writing letters on the piss poor job done by the IG.

        If I had to guess, the IG may have leaned toward letting Shulkin off, but then the OSC started looking at IG investigations. I suspect the IG started investigating seriously. Maybe Shulkin thought since he saw others getting away with it, he might too.

        His lawyers said it wasn’t like he flew in private jets, which clearly was a reference to Price and Zinke. I don’t know what Prices excuse was for his stupidity, but with Zinke, I thought his travel was something he had paid for, or was related to his duties. It may have stunk, but he likely told the truth with any investigators.

        Whatever the facts are with the other two cases, Shulkin didn’t do himself any favors by being misleading or lying.

    2. 91Veteran,
      Hell, a bunch of reprobates in Washington DC have been caught doing exactly what “Shithead Shulkin” is caught up in.
      Nothing is happening to them. It’s that old adage of; “Hell, Joe Shmo did it. So, I thought I’d do it!”

      1. Crazy Elf, I know there have been a number in DC reported by the media as doing this, but I read the reporting and try figure out whether the reporting is factual. Since January 20th 2017, its shocking what kind of bullshit passes for reporting. This is often by the same media organizations that flat out ignored any kind of travel abuses or other abuses by anyone in Obamas administration.

        I am not making any excuses for anyone abusing taxpayers. They all deserve exactly what they get and more. What pisses me off is the media reporting on thousands wasted now when they ignored millions being wasted just a couple years ago.

        Since January 20th, the media has reported a huge number of things that have been downright false, or they continue reporting something false hoping they get away with it.

      2. Shulkin was on our Wed evening CBS news saying he “…did nothing wrong!” In the “news report”, Shulkin said he “…would repay [part] of what he used!”
        If that’s true, WHY:
        1. Is he willing to repay anything?
        2. WHY has he lawyered up with the three criminal defense attorneys?
        Seymore gave their names!
        Evidently, there’s lots more crap going on we aren’t privy to!

      3. I can imagine he would have lawyered up.

        Taking a non mission essential trip costing $122,000, taking your wife along and having Uncle pay for it, then trying to be sneaky with an investigation into the trip should result in some serious questions.

  8. And no one will go to jail. Bet on it. Some poor dipstick buys a bag of weed in TX and he goes to jail. Veterans and taxpayers get bent over rode rough by an elite in DC – no problemo. God Bless Amerika – gets me all flag wavy n’shit.

    Any parent who allows their kid to join this country’s military needs to be tied to a whippin post.

  9. “Retreat , Hell we just got here!” (2nd Battalion 5th Marines)
    Now is the time to turn up the heat on VA, there are over 150 active lawsuits under Shulkin, including 230 + appeals. The bigger picture is the money train. Veterans have been prosecuted for less than $100 in travel fraud!

  10. Ben, I am posting the original text I read from the LA Times since the LAT updated their earlier article and took out a huge amount of detail.

    Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin speaks during a House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing on Feb. 6. (Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

    An internal watchdog’s investigation has found that Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin improperly accepted Wimbledon tennis tickets and probably wrongly used taxpayer money to cover his wife’s airfare for an 11-day European trip.

    The report also questions Shulkin’s decision to direct agency staff on official time to arrange his personal sightseeing activities during the July trip to England and Denmark.

    The inspector general’s audit is the latest in a controversy over misuse of government travel by top Trump administration officials.

    [remainder of comment truncated]

    10:20 a.m. Updated with reporting from the Washington Post.

    This article was previously published at 8:53 a.m.

  11. Ben, I believe your correct on the assumption of the Washington Post going, in the end, after President Trump.
    Anyone who was “appointed (by Trump) and confirmed (by Congress)” is, in my opinion, fair game to try and depose our sitting President!
    Of course this does not alleviate the “facts” of other persons (allegedly) wanted the position of Sec. of VA after Jan 20th, 2017!
    Only, when they saw, as was ‘opined’ by many on here, [of] the massive corruption, waste, fraud and abuse WHICH IS VA – they backed out!

    Lastly, in my opinion, there could also be the idea of everyone in the upper echelon of VA in Washington DC knows the “jig is up!” Basically, they’re doing the same thing as Dems and Rino’s are doing – throwing each other under the bus. Possibly thinking it might save their asses in the long run!

  12. Given Shulkin’s Chief of Staff had already been referred to the DOJ for charges over her part in falsifying documents and lying to investigators. Also that Shulkin has retained Deep State Attorney Justin Shur, the former deputy chief of the Justice Department’s public integrity section who ran interference while Clinton was Secretary of State, and who is the lead Attorney of Shulkin’s legal defense team along with two additional attorneys. All three attorneys hired by Shulkin specialize in Defense of White Collar Criminals involved with Public Corruption.

    It is a safe bet that Shulkin is not only being investigated for his European Vacation but also is being investigated for the meeting with the people from Cerner while he was in Demark during his Vacation.

    Shulkin was going to be a Billionaire

    Oh, and if you are holding any Cerner Stock you might want to think about selling very quickly.

    1. Seymore,
      Does this finally put to rest which side of the “political aisle” “Shithead Shyster Shulkin” is on!?

  13. somebody needs to bust down the closed doors of the VA. you will need respirators when they swing open because its going to stink. the obama admin is still active there. can’t believe Trump still lets it exist.

    1. I seriously believe it exists because it was forced on Trump by the swamp rats on the House and Senate VA committees and their allies. And the contractors that fund them.

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