Thousands Of Soldiers Have To Pay Back Bonuses To The Pentagon
These soldiers deserve the bonuses more than disgraced VA employees. Didn’t Obama just claim that there were no scandals during his term?
The Obama administration is targeting the bonuses of thousands of soldiers who signed up to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, but left entirely alone the bonuses handed to numerous employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), despite questionable behavior.
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In an effort to fill a severe troop shortage, officials at the National Guard wrongfully gave bonuses to thousands of troops who weren’t supposed to receive them, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday. Now, the Pentagon wants that money back, sometimes with interest, even though these soldiers served honorably and also had no idea officials were fraudulently doling out bonuses. Congress was apparently aware of this issue for at least two years.
But while this practice of recouping bonuses wrongfully paid might be standard fare at the Pentagon, it certainly does not extend to the rest of the Obama administration. VA faithfully handed out countless millions in bonuses to employees like Michael Moreland, who served as regional director of the Pittsburgh healthcare system, while six veterans died of Legionnaires’ disease, due to systemic facility failures. Moreland received a $63,000 bonus in 2013 a few days after the inspector general report was published. Later that year, he received another bonus of $37,195.
Glenn Haggstrom, a VA construction official who oversaw the cost overruns totaling $2 billion at the Aurora hospital project in Colorado, still received and was allowed to keep a bonus of $63,000.
Numerous executives involved in managing the hospital construction also took home bonuses. Stella Fiotes, executive director of the Office of Construction and Facilities Management, received a $8,985 bonus. Dennis Milsten, associate director of the Office of Construction and Facilities Management, also received a $8,069 bonus.
The infamous Dr. David Houlihan, nicknamed the “Candy Man” by veterans for handing out copious amounts of opioids, received a $4,000 bonus about nine months after an inspector general report indicated his propensity to hand out drugs. An inpatient pharmacist supervisor at the Tomah VA also received a $1,050 bonus, even though Marine Corps veteran Jason Simcakoski died after he was given a toxic cocktail of drugs. More