VA chief doctored email so wife could travel on taxpayer dime: watchdog

New York Post | 2/14/2018 | Staff
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The chief of staff to Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin altered an email and made false statements so that taxpayers would foot the bill for the secretary’s wife on a luxury, 10-day trip to Europe last summer, according to the agency’s inspector general.

Vivieca Wright Simpson, the VA’s third-most senior official, doctored language in an email from another aide who was planning the trip to make it look like Shulkin was getting an award from the Danish government.

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That was an attempt to justify paying for Shulkin’s wife’s travel — including $4,300 for her plane tickets — Inspector General Michael Missal wrote in his report.

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Simpson, Shulkin’s chief of staff, pushed for Shulkin to get an award from the Danes, which she thought would allow the secretary’s wife, Merle Bari, to join her hubby on the taxpayers’ dime.

In emails to James Gough, the Shulkin aide who was coordinating with the European veterans officials, Simpson wanted the award confirmed — but Gough said there were no plans to give him an award.

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“We’re working on having a dinner at the US Ambassador’s Residence in honor SEVCA [the secretary] but that has not been confirmed by US Embassy Copenhagen yet,” Gough wrote.

The IG said that Simpson then altered the email to make look like Gough had said, “We’re having a special recognition dinner at the US Ambassador’s Residence in the honor of SECVA.”

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Shulkin didn’t get an award on the trip.

The IG...
(Excerpt) Read more at: New York Post
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