The Department of Veterans Affairs finally succeeded Friday at demoting two corrupt executives, after failing the first time due to administrative incompetence.
One legislator is still asking why a simple demotion to general employee status is the end of the line in terms of action taken against Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves. Investigators concluded the two pushed subordinates out of their positions, so that they could then move into those positions, collect relocation funds, keep the same salaries and accept lower responsibilities, Fox News reports.
As part of the move, Rubens kept her salary of $181,497 and Graves kept her salary of $173,949. Both received $400,000 in taxpayer dollars, ostensibly for relocation expenses.
It was a perfect scheme — until the inspector general discovered the shocking behavior, which spawned a series of congressional hearings and the resignation of former Undersecretary for Benefits Allison Hickey for her nearness to the scandal.
At one of the hearings, both Rubens and Graves pled the Fifth Amendment to avoid answering any questions from the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
After pressure started mounting, the VA moved to demote Rubens and Graves, but failed miserably, as VA counsel forgot to provide the two with a binder full of evidence used in the case against them, meaning that the entire case had to be restarted.
In December, GOP Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, wrote U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch a letter, asking her why the Department of Justice refused to prosecute Rubens and Graves.
“Will the DOJ pursue charges against these employees? If not, why not?” Miller asked in the letter, according to Fox News.
“The attorney general seems uninformed regarding even the most basic elements of the investigation, DoJ officials have refused to answer lawmakers’ questions on the matter, and meanwhile the agency is slamming the door shut on investigations nearly as fast as VA’s inspector general is referring them to DoJ,” Miller said.
“That’s why it’s incumbent upon Attorney General Lynch to clear up the widespread confusion regarding this situation by promptly answering our questions,” Miller continued. “Otherwise, we’ll never be able to solve the mystery surrounding why just a handful of people have been punished for a scandal that rocked the entire VA. But perhaps that’s just how the administration wants it.”
The DOJ has still not responded to Miller.
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