Sen. Burr Won't Back Down From Criticism of Veterans Groups

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Thursday, 29 May 2014 11:21 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr said he's not backing down from his criticism of veterans organizations he says are more angry over his comments than continued reports of malfeasance at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"I absolutely stand by my statement,” Burr told Politico in an email Wednesday.

He referred to an open letter he sent last week that slammed veterans organizations for not following the lead of the American Legion in calling for the ouster of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

Burr said the reaction of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans and the Paralyzed Veterans of America to his letter "seems to prove my point: their national leadership are far more outraged by my words than they have been about the VA scandal or Secretary Shinseki’s mismanagement of the agency."

Burr did not specifically mention any of the groups in his letter, which accused veterans groups of caring more about access to Shinseki than about veterans themselves.

The VFW Saturday called Burr's comments a "monumental cheap shot" and said his letter was "one of the most dishonorable and grossly inappropriate acts that we’ve witnessed in more than 40 years of involvement with the veteran community and breaches the standards of the U.S. Senate."

Burr said Wednesday that the groups' position is hard to understand.

"How many Inspector General, Special Counsel, GAO, and Medical Inspector reports does it take to spur outrage and prompt action?" he said.

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