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Home News Chairman Takano To Secretary Wilkie – Protect VA Whistleblowers During Shutdown

Chairman Takano To Secretary Wilkie – Protect VA Whistleblowers During Shutdown

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (CA-41) released the following statement after sending a letter to Robert Wilkie, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, urging him to protect VA whistleblowers during the government shutdown: Chairman Mark Takano wrote, “It has come to my attention that whistleblowers at the Department of Veterans Affairs are unable to receive determinations from the Office of Special Counsel due to the partial government shut down.” “VA whistleblowers facing retaliation from their supervisors for blowing the whistle on fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement, and criminal activity within the Department should not be denied their due process rights because of the government shut down,” he continued. Full text of the letter follows and can be found here.   January 10, 2019 The Honorable Robert Wilkie Secretary Department of Veterans Affairs 810 Vermont Avenue N.W. Washington, D.C. 20571 Dear Secretary Wilkie, It has come to my attention that whistleblowers at the Department of Veterans Affairs are unable to receive determinations from the Office of Special Counsel due to the partial government shut down. I request that you immediately cease initiation of removal, demotion, or suspension proceedings and immediately suspend such proceedings initiated since December 22, 2018 against VA employees who allege they are subject to prohibited personnel practices while OSC remains closed. Over 40 percent of OSC’s whistleblower complaints are from VA employees. The closure of OSC due to the government shut down, and its inability to make determinations on behalf of VA whistleblowers or send receipts of whistleblower complaints filed should not be used by retaliating supervisors to evade the law. Under Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, (Pub. L. No. 115-41), VA employees seeking corrective action from the Office of Special Counsel due to reprisal and other prohibited personnel practices described under 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b), may not be removed, demoted, or suspended without the approval of the Special Counsel. VA whistleblowers facing retaliation from their supervisors for blowing the whistle on fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement, and criminal activity within the Department should not be denied their due process rights because of the government shut down.  Please provide a response to this request by Monday, January 14, 2019 with an explanation of actions taken by the Department resulting from this request.   If you have questions or require additional information, please contact Grace Rodden, General Counsel at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or at (202) 225- 9756.  Sincerely, MARK TAKANO Chairman CC: The Honorable David P. Roe, M.D. Ranking Member   ###





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Did you know?

A veteran’s family must request a United States flag.

A flag is provided at no cost to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran. Generally, the flag is given to the next of kin. Only one flag may be provided per veteran. Upon the request of the family, an “Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes” (VA Form 21-2008) must be submitted along with a copy of the veteran’s discharge papers. Flags may be obtained from VA regional offices and most U.S. Post Offices.