Colorado Rep. Mike Coffmans wants the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs to resign after a report revealed his office improperly accepted gifts and then mislead investigators.
“The abuses detailed in the VA’s inspector general report violate the trust and integrity that our Veteran’s and taxpayers demand and deserve ... ," Rep. Coffman said in a statement. "Secretary [David] Shulkin has done little to clean up the VA and given the facts of this IG investigation, it’s clear to me that he lacks the moral authority to get the job done."
Here are some of the claims made by the report, which was released Wednesday:
1) Shulkin improperly accepted free tickets to Wimbledon.
He got the tickets from a woman named Victoria Gosling. Shulkin reportedly told investigators Gosling was a personal friend, but investigators concluded that wasn't correct. The report claims the two only met three times at official events.
"Toward the end of the interview, OIG investigators asked whether Ms. Gosling could recall the first name of Secretary Shulkin’s wife," according to the report. "After a long pause, Ms. Gosling stated, 'You actually -- I think that kept throwing me. I’m actually having a genuine blank here.' She was unable to recall Dr. Bari’s name before the interview concluded."
2) Shulkin erred in having the VA pay for his wife's trip to Europe.
The trip was to Denmark and London for a summit on veterans issues. The report, however, alleges that about half of the trip was spent sightseeing. And that Shulkin tasked one of his aides with arranging these activities for his wife.
“This was time that should have been spent conducting official VA business and not providing personal travel concierge services to Secretary Shulkin and his wife,” Inspector General Michael Missal wrote in his 87-page report.
3) Shulkin's chief of staff altered an email to get the VA to pay for his wife's trip.
The government picks up the tab for a spouse's travel when there is a direct benefit to the agency. Initially, an ethics official for the VA couldn't find a reason why Shulkin's wife needed to go to London and Denmark.
The report claims Vivieca Wright Simpson then altered an email to make it sound like Shulkin was getting a "special recognition" and potentially an award during the trip and sent to the official as a reason why the VA should pay for the plane ticket.
"The OIG concluded that Ms. Wright Simpson willfully and knowingly made false representations to a VA ethics official and improperly altered an official record," according to the report.
The report concluded with a recommendation Shulkin pay Gosling for the tennis tickets, pay the VA for his wife's airfare and take action against his chief of staff.
Shulkin disputed the report's conclusions, but he said in a statement he would consult with counsel about whether he should pay for those items.