SHOWDOWN: VA Fails To Confirm Attendance At Wednesday House Hearing

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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The Department of Veterans Affairs has yet to confirm that three of its officials will show up to a House hearing Wednesday, with Republicans threatening to subpoena the officials if they don’t appear, The Daily Caller has learned.

Three top VA officials have been asked to appear at a hearing of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, chaired by Republican Rep. Jeff Miller, at 7:30 PM EST Wednesday in Room 334 of the Cannon House Office Building.

The hearing will grill the officials on the VA’s obstruction of a committee subpoena for information related to a secret waiting list kept at the Phoenix, Arizona VA Medical Center that led to preventable veteran deaths. The VA admittedly destroyed documents that department officials believe could have been the secret list.

Three top VA officials already refused to appear at a May 22 committee hearing. If VA officials Thomas Lynch, Joan Mooney, and Michael Huff do not appear at the hearing Wednesday, Miller’s committee has already voted to subpoena their testimony on Friday May 30.

“VA has promised to make officials available to the committee May 28, but in the event they do not appear, VA will be served with a subpoena that would compel all three witnesses to testify before the committee May 30,” according to a Committee statement issued Tuesday.

But with little more than a day to go until the hearing, the VA refuses to confirm that the officials will appear.

“I write to express my absolute bewilderment that, as of 2:00 pm today, we have received no confirmation that the three witnesses invited to appear at tomorrow’s 7:30 pm Committee hearing will, in fact, appear,” Miller wrote in a letter Tuesday afternoon to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, which was obtained by The Daily Caller.

“My staff has made multiple attempts with officials within VA’s Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs and your own office to discern this simple fact, but there has been no answer,” Miller wrote. “I remind you that VA’s General Counsel, Mr. Will Gunn, relayed to Committee staff last Thursday morning that all three witnesses could be made available to the Committee on Wednesday, May 27.”

“VA is now over a week late in fully complying with the Committee’s May 8, 2014, subpoena,” Miller wrote.

“Mr. Secretary, getting timely information from the Department you lead has been abysmal,” Miller wrote. “But failure to get a timely response to a bipartisan invitation for witnesses to testify regarding matters related to a Committee subpoena is outrageous.”

The VA did not immediately return a request for comment for this report.

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