Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Where Is the Oversight?

Reps. Gus Bilirakis and C.W. "Bill" Young, as well as Gus' daddy Mike, claim to support veterans. As a matter of fact, that is the hallmark of their service in Congress. So they say. Unfortunately, commemorative coins for disabled vets and anecdotal testimonials aside, here is evidence of whom they've really been supporting.

More cronyism, no oversight.

"Nearly two dozen officials who received hefty performance bonuses last year at the Veterans Affairs Department also sat on the boards charged with recommending the payments.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press raise questions of conflicts of interest or appearances of conflicts in connection with the bonuses, some of which went to senior officials involved in crafting a budget that came up $1.3 billion short and jeopardized veterans' health care.


Rep. John Hall, D-N.Y., has introduced legislation that would freeze 2007 VA bonuses for "senior politically appointed officers" — such as assistant secretaries or deputy undersecretaries — until the agency pares its disability claims backlog to under 100,000 cases. The VA says deputy undersecretaries are career employees, and a committee spokeswoman acknowledged that was the case.
"It is simply unacceptable that veterans are waiting longer and longer for benefits they desperately need while senior staff members in charge of bad policy are rewarded so-called performance bonuses," Hall said."

Until the Democrats took control of the Congress in January, there was no oversight. Where was Daddy Mike Bilirakis on whose coattails Gus rode into office? Where was Rep. Young? Will Gus Bilirakis do a better job? So far, he's been more concerned with protecting an inept, corrupt administration than in protecting our veterans AND the American people.

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