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Treasury Inspector General Questions Report by Veterans Affairs IG

Image: Treasury Inspector General Questions Report by Veterans Affairs IG
Treasury IG Eric Thorson, left, and VA Inspector General Richard Griffin. (Roger l. Wollenberg/UPI/Landov; Win Mcnamee/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 16 Mar 2015 06:44 AM

A critical report by the Veterans Affairs Inspector General about the performance of a senior procurement officer has been slammed by the Treasury Department's IG where that employee now works, USA Today reported.

VA Inspector General Richard Griffin had charged that Iris Cooper guided $15 million of information technology work to a software firm owned by a friend. She purportedly found a workaround that removed the need for bidding on any contract over $5 million.

Treasury IG Eric Thorson contradicted Griffin in a letter to House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller of Florida. He said the charges against Cooper had been "refuted by witnesses with firsthand knowledge."

Thorson said his own inquiry "calls into question the integrity" of the work done by the Veteran Affairs IG's office "in this particular matter," The New York Times reported.

Cooper left the VA and now works at the Treasury Department. According to Thorson, Cooper did not award the contracts or improperly pressure those who did. The software work was not purposefully broken down into pieces to avoid bidding, USA Today reported.

Thorson implied that Griffin had ulterior motives for criticizing Cooper connected to a dispute she had with another VA manager, Jan Frye, with whom the VA IG purportedly wanted to curry professional favor, USA Today reported.

Griffin has come under severe criticism for reports issued by his office about patient wait times and how the VA prescribed  opiates. He has further been taken to task for not making public the findings of 140 investigations since 2006 related to how well healthcare is provided at VA facilities, USA Today reported.

A spokeswoman for Griffin said his office stood by its report on Cooper.
Miller, a Republican, called on President Barack Obama to nominate a new VA inspector general.

"Whether it's VA OIG's penchant for hiding damaging reports from Congress and the public, the office's failure to cooperate with Congress and its fellow inspectors general, or OIG's repeated failures to accurately diagnose VA's wait time problems, VA OIG has been in need of a change in direction for quite some time," Miller said.

Maureen Regan, chief counsel in the VA inspector general's office, is scheduled to appear before Miller's committee on Monday, USA Today reported.

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A critical report by the VA Inspector General about the performance of a senior procurement officer has been slammed by the Treasury Department's IG where that employee now works, USA Today reported.
VA, Inspector General, Report, treasury department
374
2015-44-16
Monday, 16 Mar 2015 06:44 AM
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