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Manchin, others, call on Department of Justice to investigate VA wrongdoings

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Several U.S. Senators included Joe Manchin, D-WV, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder calling on the Department of Justice to immediately investigate criminal wrongdoing at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In the letter to Holder, Manchin, along with Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., John McCain, R-Ariz., and 18 additional senators called on the Department of Justice to immediately investigate evidence of criminal wrongdoing at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities. While the VA inspector general is currently conducting a criminal investigation and has consulted DOJ throughout the process, the senators called on DOJ to take a leadership role in the investigation.

The letter called on the DOJ to include the FBI and look into other criminal acts like falsification of records.

“Evidence of secret waiting times, falsification of records, destruction of documents, and other potential criminal wrongdoing has appalled and angered the nation, and imperiled trust and confidence in the Veterans Health Administration. While we commend and appreciate the IG's pursuit of his inquiry, an effective and prompt criminal investigation must inevitably involve the resources of the Department of Justice, including the FBI,” the senators wrote.

The senators added, “The spreading and growing scale of apparent criminal wrongdoing is fast outpacing the criminal investigative resources of the IG, and the revelations in the interim report only highlight the urgency of involvement by the Department of Justice. There is a need for prompt results from the IG – not by August, as the IG has publicly said, but within the next few weeks. This challenge requires resources that only the Department of Justice can provide in developing and assessing evidence, pursuing leads, and initiating active prosecutions aggressively if warranted.”

In addition to Senators Manchin, Blumenthal, and McCain, the following senators signed the letter: Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.), James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), John E. Walsh (D-Mont.), John Barrasso (R-Wy.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Roger F. Wicker (R-Miss.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.).