by Derrick Storms
— A federal judge recently declared that she is “outraged” by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs in a lawsuit that names the VA, Secretary Shinseki, and several top officials at the VA for alleged violations of corruption, abuse of power, abuse of process, and tortious conduct. The officials are accused of abusing the powers entrusted in them to violate the rights of veterans, including the unlawful destruction of veteran owned businesses. VA officials debarred a veteran from government contracting as a result of a dispute between the veteran and a VA official. Six days after the lawsuit commenced the Dept. of Justice vacated the debarment stating that it was issued without due-process of law and was therefore unconstitutional.
The Plaintiffs are now holding these VA officials personally liable for their unlawful actions by suing them in federal court. One of the Plaintiffs, Derrick Storms is a combat Marine Corps veterans who fought in the Iraq War. Storms says, “under Shinseki, the VA is destroying veterans.” This is “really, really disturbing that VA officials are violating the constitutional rights of veterans.” In fact, according to Court filings, the district Judge, Margo K. Brodie, used those same words, stating this is “really, really, disturbing,” and that she was “outraged” by the government’s conduct. Storms said he was pleased that Judge Brodie was overseeing the case, “she’s a people’s Judge and she takes people’s rights very seriously. This country would be a hell of a lot better off if more judges on the Supreme Court were like Judge Brodie.”
Storms, who is lead counsel in the lawsuit, stated the “VA had this coming for quite a while now. They have been violating veterans’ rights for years, it was just a matter of time before someone sued these unethical officials.” Indeed, the VA, and particularly Secretary Shinseki have been under fire recently for a veterans disability claims backlog approaching 1 million claims while rewarding VA officials with lavish bonuses at the same time. The Chairman of the House of Veterans Affairs, Congressman Jeff Miller has called for the outright resignation of Secretary Shinseki. As did Congressman Duncan Hunter, who has sharply criticized the VA for handing out $16.8 million dollars in extra compensation to 463 senior VA officials from 2007 to 2011. Rep. Hunter stated, “can you imagine failing utterly at your job and then getting a bonus?” 67 U.S. Senators also joined in, writing a letter to President Obama requesting that he directly intervene to correct the VA’s veterans benefits backlog. Even more shocking is that Secretary Shinseki’s lavish bonuses didn’t seem to be enough for VA employees, the VA also spent an astonishing $300 million dollars on employee conferences since 2005.
The most expensive meeting totaled a jaw-dropping $6.3 million dollars. In response, Storms says, “this has got to stop. We need to take action to stop these corrupt officials. They are throwing parties almost daily and handing out undeserved bonuses, while our veterans are suffering. Secretary Shinseki needs to resign immediately.” Veterans are furious that Shinseki has refused to leave office after the overwhelming public outcry demanded that he resign. Storms says, “only a dictator stays in office after losing the support of the people and only a traitor violates the constitutional rights of veterans. Shinseki is both: a dictator and a traitor. But it’s clear he’s not going to leave office on his own volition. We, the people, need to demand that he leave office immediately. I suggest that all veterans both write and call their congressman, senators, and veterans groups and demand that Shinseki resign.”