Peter O'Rourke, the former President Donald Trump appointee at the Department of Veterans Affairs who was forced out after collecting pay but doing little work, used his position to stifle claims and retaliate against employees, according to an inspector general report released Thursday.
O'Rourke was the first director of the VA's Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection.
During his tenure, O'Rourke retaliated against anyone trying to expose problems at the agency and stifle claims. He also leveraged his power to end investigations into allies of senior officials, refused to honor whistleblowers' demands for anonymity and failed to consistently provide reports to Congress on his office's operations.
"The report's findings of failings in all these areas help explain the significant challenges [the office's] leaders face today in establishing trust and achieving its intended goals," said Michael Missal, the department's inspector general, in a statement.
"In its first two years of operation, the [office] acted in ways that were inconsistent with its statutory authority, while it simultaneously floundered in its mission to protect whistleblowers," the report from the VA's watchdog said. "The [office] itself engaged in actions that could be considered retaliatory."
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