American Elephants

VA Caught Sending Veterans’ Mail to the Shredder by The Elephant's Child

Bureaucracy again. The Veteran’s Administration’s Office of the Inspector General launched an “unannounced inspection”  of the Los Angeles office after they heard allegations that the VA staff there was shredding mail related to veterans’ disability compensation claims. The OIG could not measure how often this might have happened, it did find examples of mail placed in bins for shredding, that should have been opened and read. Eight of the nine examples were claims- related  documents and had the potential to affect veterans’ benefits, one was unrelated.

The very first level of control requires letters to be reviewed before they are shredded. There was supposed to be a records management officer on staff, but the officer who held that job was promoted in August 2014, and the office’s assistant director “determined that it was not necessary to fill the position.” The OIG said the Los Angeles office could not produce any documentation on what documents it had shredded over the past two years.

The American people, through their representatives, have made it pretty clear that they expect our veterans to be well treated, not to be victims of bureaucratic games. And just noting that this was discovered through an “unannounced inspection,” it is perhaps worth mentioning that there is no such thing as  an “unannounced inspection”in Obama’s Iran Deal. Inspectors must give 24 days advance warning of an inspection, and they don’t get to inspect military sites at all. And if  inspectors require soil samples, they will be provided by the Iranians. Lots of confidence in that deal.

Tax Time: You’ll Be Happy to Know the IRS Failed to Adequately Screen 77% of New Hires. by The Elephant's Child

Have you finished doing your taxes? Have you started? Your tax return undoubtedly will contain information that you expect will remain private, between the gigantic IRS and  you. Now the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has challenged the IRS on their pre-screening and employment practices. They found that at four of nine branch offices, nearly 77% of new hires were not adequately screened  to meet standards of honesty, integrity and security. Oops!

In Fiscal Year 2010, taxpayers filed over 230 million tax returns that contained sensitive financial information. Because many IRS employees must have access to sensitive taxpayer information to administer the Nation’s tax system, the IRS must be particularly cognizant of hiring only those applicants who hold themselves to the highest standards of integrity. The IRS uses several controls to deter and detect the abuse of sensitive information. Pre-screening applicants and conducting background investigations on them are the initial steps in the process of ensuring that the IRS meets the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and security.

The IRS has implemented controls designed to ensure that applicants pursuing permanent or temporary employment with the IRS are suitable, and background investigation requests are properly initiated. However, our review at four of nine Employment Operations branch offices revealed that nearly 77% of the cases reviewed (507 of 662 cases) did not have sufficient documentation that would allow us to verify that the Employment Operations offices completed all of the required pre-screening steps before the employee reported for duty.

(ht: TaxProfBlog)

Veterans Forced to Wait for Their Checks, Bureaucrats get $24M Bonuses. by The Elephant's Child
August 22, 2009, 1:20 am
Filed under: Military, News, Politics | Tags: , , ,

It’s Friday, and time for another Washington scandal.  Severely wounded veterans have faced financial hardship waiting for their first disability payment.  Inside the Veterans Affairs Department, money has been flowing to the bureaucrats in the form of $24 million in bonuses.

In scathing reports this week, the VA’s inspector general said thousands of technology office employees at the VA received the bonuses over a two-year period, some under questionable circumstances.  It also detailed abuses ranging from nepotism to an inappropriate relationship between two VA employees.

Bonuses in amounts over $50,000;  improperly authorized college tuition payments for VA employees; $37,000 worth of travel on the government’s ticket to see a boyfriend are just some of the problems unearthed by the inspector general.

The numbers of claims the VA needs to process have increased , and the Office of  Information and Technology is tasked with improving the technological infrastructure to handle the increase.  The backlog has allowed some veterans to wait months for a disability check.

The VFW and Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) the top Republican on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee are speaking out, and the proper corrective actions will no doubt take place.  If somebody is going to suffer, it should not be our wounded veterans.  They deserve the best the nation can give them.

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