Asked whether she believes in the integrity of data being supplied to her by VA officials, Halliday told the House Veterans Affairs Committee: "No. ... I don't want to say I trust them." Goodbye, hope and change. Hello, lying liars.
And how's this for horrifying: Yet another VA IG report released this week affirmed that the Baltimore VA "had inappropriately stockpiled about 8,000 documents" containing sensitive personal information and processed and unprocessed claims-related mail with the potential to affect benefits payments. "More than 9,500 documents and 80 claims folders lacked the oversight necessary to ensure timely claims processing," investigators said.
Translation: Feckless VA drones sat on their plump, worthless backsides while the desperate entreaties of our nation's best and bravest clogged their do-nothing desks.
The horrors of government ineptitude and malpractice are behemoth. The OIG also affirmed this week that the same kind of book-cooking happening across the country took place at Philadelphia VA offices. Staffers changed dates on old claims to make them look new. Whistleblowers exposed systematic document shredding and piles of veterans' unanswered correspondence stuffed in boxes and cabinets. Still to be probed: cherry-picking of claims to inflate performance; 32,000 unanswered electronic queries from veterans seeking information about their benefits claims; and duplicate payments being written off.
The first lady's Operation VA Scandal Distraction may have been a success for one day. But evasion-by-photo-op can't work forever.