VA Inspector General Steps Down Amid Criticism and Whitewashing Claims | Law Firm Newswire

VA Inspector General Steps Down Amid Criticism and Whitewashing Claims

Legal Help for Veterans is a law firm helping veterans get the benefits they deserve.

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) August 26, 2015 - Richard Griffin, the acting inspector general of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), stepped down from his post on July 4 after facing criticism from whistleblowers and members of Congress for doing little to uncover fraud in the agency and interfering in investigations to protect VA leadership.

He was appointed deputy inspector general in 2008 and has served as the acting director of the department since January 2014. Although in his retirement announcement Griffin lauded the office’s “outstanding achievements,” critics in recent years have accused him of not holding VA leadership accountable for problems. On June 29, a group called the VA Truth Tellers demanded his resignation in order to end a “pattern of whitewashing and deceit.”

Jim Fausone, a Michigan veterans disability attorney, said, “The consequences of poor leadership directly affect veterans who are seeking a reliable source for care. Richard Griffin’s resignation is the latest in a series of actions that must take place before the VA is at a point where they can shift their focus away from dealing with internal matters and dedicate their attention to the needs of veterans.”

Griffin came under fire last year when Dr. Sam Foote, former clinic director of the Phoenix VA hospital and main whistleblower in the scandal, alleged that at least 40 veterans died while awaiting appointments at the facility. He exposed serious problems at the Phoenix hospital, including long patient wait times and the falsification of records to cover up delays.

When the inspector general released a report in May 2014 clearing the VA of any wrongdoing in those deaths, Dr. Foote called it a “whitewash” that minimized the misconduct at the facility and protected the department’s leaders. The report and resulting scandal led to the resignation of VA secretary Eric Shinseki. Since then, the department has been struggling to fill leadership positions due to sparse nominations from the White House and slow confirmations by the Senate.

Ahead of Griffin’s announcement, a bipartisan group of 10 senators petitioned the president to appoint a permanent inspector general for the VA to ensure stability in the office’s oversight, saying it was “long overdue.”

“With a permanent inspector general, the VA would be better equipped to overcome long-term challenges and create a culture of accountability in the department,” Fausone said.

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Northville, MI 48168
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