OOPS: VA Accidentally Ruined Attempt To Demote Corrupt Executives Rubens And Graves

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) accidentally failed in its attempt to demote two executives who made off with over $400,000 in taxpayer funds through relocation bonus fraud.

Near the end of November, the VA announced it planned to demote executives Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves to general employee status for forcing subordinates out of coveted positions, applying for those positions and then receiving major relocation bonuses as ill-gotten gains.

During the removal process, Graves and Rubens were remotely reassigned to the Veterans Benefits Administration’s central office.

Both Graves and Rubens appealed the demotion.

But according to a statement from the VA, in the appeal hearing, lawyers for the department discovered the VA had inadvertently left out one of the binders full of evidence provided to Rubens and Graves.

This means that the department has to restart the process all over again, in order to give Rubens and Graves five business days to respond to the new evidence.

“It seems VA’s incompetence knows no bounds,” GOP Rep. [crscore]Jeff Miller[/crscore], chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, says in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “After VA Dep. Sec. Sloan Gibson repeatedly expressed concerns that our committee’s legitimate oversight efforts could jeopardize these disciplinary proceedings, VA seems to have sabotaged this case all on its own.”

“By now, it’s clear to nearly every objective observer that VA’s top officials don’t know how to properly discipline employees,” Miller adds. “What remains unclear, however, is whether they are even interested in doing so. Yet until VA leaders make a commitment to supporting real accountability – something they have refused to do thus far – efforts to reform the department are doomed to fail.”

Even though the VA wants to demote Rubens and Graves to general employee status, the two will still make over $100,000 a year. Additionally, the VA does not intend to try and force the two to return the fraudulently obtained funds. (RELATED: VA Execs Demoted, But Get To Keep Their Jobs And Fraud Money)

Since the VA appears uninterested, Miller stepped in and introduced a bill empowering the secretary of veterans affairs to take those bonuses back. But even this attempt is subject to additional layers of bureaucracy. If the bill passes and the secretary moves forward with his new powers, the two executives still require advanced notice and the opportunity for a hearing. (RELATED: VA Refuses To Take Back Fraudulently-Obtained Bonuses, So This Rep Introduced A Bill To Do Just That)

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