Tags: reenlistment | bonus | repay | california national guard

Forcing Soldiers to Repay Bonuses Creates Bipartisan Outrage

Image: Forcing Soldiers to Repay Bonuses Creates Bipartisan Outrage

Robert D'Andrea, a retired Army major and Iraq war veteran, holds a frame with a photo of his team on his first deployment to Iraq in his home in Los Angeles. Nearly 10,000 California National Guard soldiers have been ordered to repay huge enlistment bonuses a decade after signing up to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via AP, File)

By    |   Tuesday, 25 Oct 2016 03:47 PM

Many prominent politicians from both parties are up in arms that almost 10,000 soldiers have been ordered to repay large reenlistment bonuses after audits revealed widespread overpayments by the California National Guard at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Politico reports.

A Los Angeles Times article revealed that lack of oversight allowed for widespread fraud and mismanagement by California Guard officials under pressure to meet enlistment targets some 10 years ago.

Many of the soldiers served multiple combat tours, but are now told that if they refuse to repay the bonuses of upwards of $15,000 they will be slapped with interest charges, wage garnishments, and tax liens.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton slammed both the California National Guard and Pentagon, saying she was appalled at the situation.

"These troops… served admirably and upheld their part of the bargain. It is unacceptable to now subject them and their families to undue financial burdens thanks to mismanagement from the California National Guard and rigid bureaucracy on the part of the Pentagon."

She also urged Congress to swiftly pass legislation to fix the situation.

Top congressional leaders — including House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi — all agreed that Congress must remedy the issue and harshly criticized the Pentagon for placing the responsibility on soldiers to repay for the mistakes of others.

The Military Times reported that Trump used the issue at a Florida campaign rally to slam the administration.

"The corrupt system can also force brave National Guardsmen from California to return the bonuses they were promised, something that would never happen under a Trump administration," the Republican candidate said. "This can only happen with these incompetent people we have running [the country] and people with no common sense."

The California National Guard said it would prefer to absolve the soldiers of their debts, but any such action would be both illegal and costly.

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Many prominent politicians from both parties are up in arms that almost 10,000 soldiers have been ordered to repay large enlistment bonuses after audits revealed widespread overpayments by the California National Guard at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan last...
reenlistment, bonus, repay, california national guard
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2016-47-25
Tuesday, 25 Oct 2016 03:47 PM
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