More troubling Veterans Administration news: Millions wasted in unauthorized purchases

Image courtesy of Jerry Ballard

Last night on Fox News’ Kelly File, liberal progressive Alexis Johnson claimed the budget for the VA is the reason behind its failure to properly care for our vets. That’s laughable – unless you want to consider the amount the VA is wasting.

According to The Washington Times, the Department of Veterans Affairs is under fire again as a new watchdog report reveals the agency spent up to $85.6 million in taxpayer dollars on unauthorized commitments. The Veterans Affairs inspector general’s office reported that during fiscal years 2012 and 2013 the VA made about 15,600 potential unauthorized transactions because of inadequate warrant information, insufficient verification of cardholder warrant limitations, and insufficient training.

There is something systemically wrong in the Veterans Administration and this is not an if.

The questionable purchases account for nearly 5 percent of the VA’s total $1.8 billion in cardholder commitments. In 2012, the VA institutionally approved thousands of questionable purchases made with the Pharmaceutical Prime Vendor instead of individually reviewing each purchase. According to the watchdog’s report, the VA cannot assure that cardholders protected the government’s interests when purchasing unapproved goods and services because there is no proof that the items were purchased at a fair price.

Apparently there’s no system of checks for government cardholders and a process of monthly or even weekly reconciliations of purchases being made by these cardholders. I’m quite sure we, American taxpayers, may never know the real dollar figure, but the prevailing point is that these purchases evidence further government wasteful spending — spending that should be going to care for our veterans.

I fear it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

44 COMMENTS

  1. Well as a card holder I go though checks all the time, I can’t see how anyone could get away with purchases like this unless they are upward management and have no one over them!

    • Erick, when the smoke clears I think they’ll have most of upper management in jail over it. If we investigate all the programs that our government runs it wouldn’t surprise me to find corruption in every program.

    • For 5 years 12 of Obama’s Agency’s had no Inspector General. There was no Oversight and the Agency’s went wild, thus all the scandals that came to light after Inspectors were appointed. Obama’s been building a private Army within all the Agency’s, since when do regulatory Agencys need a swat assault team. The Department of Education and the Postal Service are just the latest to be armed. The Democrats in Congress are protecting and encouraging Obama’s lawlessness and corruption. We need to vote them all out in November.

  2. Pretty sure the card holders are responsible for monthly reconciliation so I don’t know how there would be a problem in this area.

  3. This is the manner in which the entire federal government operates, not just the VA.
    To put a stop to it would endanger many companies getting fat from the lack of financial oversight, not to mention the politicians who are “lobbied” (bribed) to turn their heads to the wrongdoing in every imaginable corner of the government and the high-ranking GS people.
    A government job is one’s ticket to riches and never having to worry about personal finances again – nuke DC.

    • LOL! Frank, everyday Federal workers do not get rich. Distinguish between the people, Elected Officials, Top and Management Personnel.

      • It is sad and unfair that our federal govt. (and most of their agencies) are so corrupt and there is such a lack of disclosure that all politicians become suspect. Our leadership seem intent on “improving” our constitution. Our founding fathers were right. The constitution is right. Self interest, inertia, and lack of integrity can destroy the greatest freedom and justice the world has known. God wake us up to our highest principles before it is too late.

  4. I’m not sure what the term warrant means in this context. But I do know what “millions of dollars in unauthorized purchases” means, and I can’t understand why the IG can’t figure out that this is a problem because he doesn’t know if whoever made the unauthorized purchases got a good price on them. What difference does it make if you got a good deal if you weren’t supposed to buy whatever it was in the first place.

    For any of you who are government employees, you’ll have to excuse me. I spent over 30 years as a manager/director/VP/SVP in the private sector and believe me, I watched that budget like a hawk. Nobody in my chain of command bought ANYTHING they were not authorized to buy, and that includes drinks at a restaurant or a bottle of wine. I simply do not understand how so many government employees seem to let their budgets get completely out of control!

      • The unauthorized purchases for the most part are a purchaser not following the redistribution of wealth hierarchy:
        1. disabled veteran female minority owned firms.
        2. disabled veteran firms.
        3.Minority firms.
        4 Woman owned firms.
        The VA could buy their supplies from the manufacturer but have to go through one of these middlemen (middle-persons) who will buy the products from the same manufacturer and mark them up to make a profit.
        If the purchaser does not go through one of the hierarchy then it gets flagged as an unauthorized purchase.That report is a bit hazy.

  5. Most of this Administration under Obama is mismanaged and corrupt. For 5 years 12 of Obama’s Agency’s had no Inspector General. There was no Oversight and the Agency’s went wild, thus all the scandals that came to light after Inspectors were appointed. Obama’s been building a private Army within all the Agency’s, since when do regulatory Agencys need a swat assault team. The Department of Education and the Postal Service are just the latest to be armed. The Democrats in Congress are protecting and encouraging Obama’s lawlessness and corruption. We need to vote them all out in November.

  6. So the first bite out of the apple..and it is rotten inside..are we surprised. Isn’t always about money?

    • The VA disaster is not about money. Their Budget has been increased and if they needed more, they would have had it. This goes way beyond funding.

  7. when you have an airhead as the president and no one is watching the hen house. the door is wide open for escape and or the fox to get in AND no one Cares

    • At the VA hospital I go to there are buildings (dozens) going up everywhere for a few years now. Thousands of shovel ready private construction firms doing the work. Rented equipment unused, rusting in fields and parking lots, solar panel covered parking lots that will break even in 40 years use. I talk to the staff and they say it is more office buildings. the staff also reports that they are getting their pay cut by several paygrades. They look out their windows and see all this money being spent and think about their own family with the paycheck being cut. I think this degrades their motivation for serving the veteran.

      • When you have a job that affects people, you either have Ethics or you don’t. Before I retired we didn’t have a pay raise for over 3 years, but you either do your job or go elsewhere. Before I retired, they were going to the lowest bid, rather they were good or not. As for it not going to Veteran or Women Firms, I don’t know, but it would not surprise me with this administration. There is no excuse for what is going on in the VA and the answers to who, what and when, needs to be found out.

      • Hi Reba good to see you. You’re correct whether it is from the distributors or Direct from the manufacturers, there must be Ethics. this administration has no ethics, it does not lead by example, so the mentality is if the don’t why should I

      • Good Morning. Yea, that’s about right. Like I said, start at the top and work your way down to Management. I believe before it’s over, it will be almost all of the VA Centers. I also believe they will find out a lot more if it is Audited with Ethics. I think it is time to turn the VA over to Civilian Care.

  8. Corruption starts at the top and works it’s way down. I was a cardholder for a government agency and someone over me wanted me to purchase an unauthorized item. I refused, but was pressured to purchase, still refused so I became known as someone who was difficult to work with. I told one person over me that I would purchase if they would sign a document saying they ordered me to and they would not. I have to admit that I retired from the agency and the person who said I was difficult to work with did not, she was fired after a time. It all boils down to what the top will allow.

    • It happens everywhere and you either have Ethics or you don’t. I retired with almost 40 years as a Budget Analyst/Financial Manager and someone always tries it. The sad thing is, as the older ones retire who have the most Ethics, what is left? As you say, start at the top when you are looking for corruption, because that is where it comes from 99.999 percent of the time.

  9. The whole government is corrupt as are the bureaucrats who work for the government most of them steal time from taxpayers .Face it we have a rotten government full of rotten sewer rats.

  10. More of the “I will take care of it” from obama.The corruption that now exist makes the crime and injustice of Hitlers Germany look petty, the only thing obama has not started is mass killing of the jews, but in this case it will be the white Americans on the way to the gas chambers.

  11. I can’t help but wonder if those responsible for shafting our military personnel at the VA hospitals, are the same anti-war hippies during the Vietnam era that also has it in for the military. Now that they’re in charge, this treachery is a means of reprisal against those who went to war.

  12. PLEASE people, this has been going on for years before Obama took office. Reagan wouldn’t pay for claims made by Vietnam vets suffering from exposure to Agent Orange. Bush sent them off to fight two wars, but made no provisions for adequate care upon their. Don’t play partisan politics with our vets. We need to find all the reasons this is ongoing problem, and leave political sound bites out of it. Leave your Obama Derangement Syndrome at home on this one.

    • The real reason is that civil service rules protect wrongdoers, and the victimized have no voice in the national media. In government, there is no such thing as being caught with your hand in the cookie jar and being fired.

    • Well then don’t you think its about time somebody in leadership is held responsible for their inaction. I can’t stand one people say…well what about so and so…quit making excuses for your leaders.

      Leadership means holding yourself and those working for you responsible…and it matters little whether you cask yourself Democrat, Republican or Other!

    • I am sure the eyes of those with blinders don’t give a hoot how long this mess has been going on. It has been one thing after another for many, many years. The “Obama Derangement Syndrome ” really helps nobody, because people are too busy pointing.

  13. So many government scandals persist for so many years because their victims have no voice in the national media and no representation in government.

  14. The system is broken. I know of two former Military members who are bilking the system claiming PTSD. Neither saw combat. One worked on computers and the other was in logistics and drove a payloader. Payloader guy was basically burning the candle at both ends. Staying up all night to play World of Warcraft with his girlfriend and then trying to work all day on no sleep. He threw a fit and threatened to kill his command and they sent him to a psych ward. We had just seen him when he was home on leave and he was happy as a clam. Partying with the girlfriend and spoke of no problems. He ran into the other con man and after two weeks of being back at his command he pulled his little stunt. I confronted him about it and told him that I knew what he did, he admitted it and said it’s kind of hard to get out of it because the money is so good. He has received about $6K a month at times, when he is going to school (on line) oh and the child he had with the girlfriend has his child support paid through SSI. It irritates the hell out of me that there are veterans with real claims who cannot get what they should and these two ticks cried a little, worked the psychiatrist and immediately received disability.

  15. This bloated spending has been going on for a long time at the Pentagon. Remember–when it is the taxpayers funding the purchases, it seems to be a go for anything!

  16. Heads need to roll over this and a multitude of other things wrong not only in the VA but the federal sytem. Sad thing is those that may be guilty of any wrong doing won’t get fired they will get Lernered (able to resign with full benefits)

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