Kuster says Audit Shows VA Secretary Shulkin Demonstrated 'Extreme Carelessness'

Feb 15, 2018

Congresswoman Annie Kuster says VA Secretary David Shulkin must immediately address allegations related to official travel.

In an audit by the VA Office of Inspector General, Shulkin is found to have improperly accepted Wimbledon tennis tickets and gone on an 11-day European trip with his wife that mixed business and sightseeing at taxpayer expense.

The report also questions Shulkin's decision to direct agency staff on official time to arrange his personal sightseeing activities during the July trip to England and Denmark.

Kuster is the lead Democrat on the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

"The OIG report outlining misuse of federal funds by Secretary Shulkin at best shows extreme carelessness and at worst is evidence of willful abuse of taxpayer dollars," Kuster said in a statement.

The inspector general's audit is the latest in a controversy over misuse of government travel by top Trump administration officials.

Shulkin's lawyers say he did nothing improper. A department spokesman says Shulkin "travels far less than any recent VA secretary" and takes no private jets. Shulkin himself says he does not agree with the audit's findings but will consult with the VA's general counsel and reimburse the government if advised to do so.

In a statement Wednesday, VA spokesman Curt Cashour said, "Accountability and transparency are important values at VA under President Trump, and we look forward to reviewing the report and its recommendations in more detail before determining an appropriate response."

Associated Press reports contributed to this story.