Watchdog Investigates Retaliation in VA Scandal


A federal watchdog agency is looking into claims that whistleblowers in the scandal involving Veterans Affairs hospitals say they suffered retaliation from their superiors.

The independent Office of Special Counsel said 67 employees who filed complaints about problems that included a backlog of 600,000 applications and deletion of thousands of veterans' health records, were harassed by supervisors.

The complaints were filed in 28 states at 45 separate facilities and were revealed during a hearing before the House Veterans Affairs Committee Tuesday night.

James Tuchschmidt, the No. 2 official at the Veterans Health Administration, says he's sorry that VA employees have suffered retaliation after reporting alleged wrongdoing.

"I apologize to everyone whose voice has been stifled," Tuchschmidt told the House Veterans Affairs Committee following the testimony of four VA employees.

"That's not what I stand for," he said. "I'm very disillusioned and sickened by all of this."

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