Ranking Democratic Member Bob Filner (D-CA) released the following statement regarding the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General investigation into questionable spending related to two VA human Resources training conferences held last year:
"The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (VAOIG) is in the process of investigating questionable activities related to VA Human Resources training conferences held in July and August last year. The VAOIG informed my staff as to the commencement of the investigation in April and again last week.
"I take very seriously the allegations that VA improperly spent taxpayer dollars and I believe that the individuals involved should be held fully accountable. I question the need to spend so many resources on these conferences and question the lack of management oversight at the VA that allowed questionable activities and questionable spending to occur in the first place. The conferences in question, which took place last year, cost anywhere between $3 million to $9 million, resources that could have been better spent providing health care and benefits to our veterans. I am troubled that with this amount of spending there seems to be a lack of oversight at the VA. We seem to be once again faced with a situation where VA management seems to be asleep at the switch.
"I am hopeful that an important provision in a bill enacted last week (P.L. 112-154) requiring quarterly reports to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs detailing VA expenditures for conferences will assist us in working with the VA to make sure that these questionable activities surrounding last year's conferences do not happen again.
"I am awaiting the full VAOIG report next month and will work closely with my colleagues on the Committee to fashion an appropriate response to ensure that the department charged with caring for our veterans puts the needs of our veterans first."