One of the most frustrating things to behold is when someone has a decent amount of wealth and they still feel the need to steal and act dishonestly towards money. Nowhere is this corruption and greed more clearly seen than in the case of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin’s chief of staff.
According to the Hill, Viveca Wright Simpson “doctored an email in an effort to cover up travel expenses for Shulkin’s wife,” and Inspector General’s report shows. Changes were made to an official email in order to get “funding for Shulkin’s wife’s flights costing more than $4,000.”
Our leaders and their family are deciding to live like royalty with ever-greater frequency, and this was never meant to be what American culture was like. We saw this when Obama was taking more trips to Hawaii than he did to the White House lavatory and it seems that he is not alone in this assumption that it is owed to him/them.
Shulkin also “misused” government funds “accepting Wimbledon tickets and airfare for his wife when he took a trip to Europe last summer,” the U.S.A Today reveals.
The Hill even shows us that Shulkin “served as a VA official during the Obama administration and was nominated as secretary by President Trump” and claimed that the tickets to the legendary tennis match were a gift from a friend.
However, the IG found that “Victoria Gosling, an adviser for the Invictus Games” was only someone that met Shulkin on three occasions at various events. Now in our age of text and email, one need not meet a friend to be one but compounded with the tickets, all signs point to corruption.
He even boasted about the wonderful time that he and his wife had. “This was time that should have been spent conducting official VA business and not providing personal travel concierge services to Secretary Shulkin and his wife,” wrote Inspector General Michael Missal.
He “recommends” that the money be returned to the VA’s office so that they can be reimbursed for his wife’s airfare and that Gosling should be given the money for the tickets which were used.
In a letter to the IG, Shulkin wrote that the report “draws conclusions based on subjective and arbitrary criteria.” He is claiming that the circumstances point to corruption where none exists.
“It is outrageous that you would portray my wife and me as attempting to take advantage of the government,” he also wrote. He has also said that he will repay the money.
So was this taken out of context or was “pay to play” discovered? There is not enough proof in this paper trail to remove him from his post, but there is certainly enough to ask questions about how this was done.
In the future, hopefully, this won’t be happening from Shulkin or anyone affiliated with him, and it can be forgotten. Meanwhile, this does show us the need to stay vigilant because there is always someone looking for a free lunch on the taxpayer’s dime.