AMVETS: Shulkin told VSO's he paid for travel, Wimbledon tickets

Shulkin's previous claims to VSO's reveal contradiction to IG report

Eric Dehm
February 15, 2018 - 9:21 am

(Photo by Megan Garcia, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Command Communications)

The news of a potentially damning IG report, relating to VA Secretary David Shulkin's 2017 taxpayer funded trip to England, arrived yesterday. There's a lot in the report that doesn't look good for Shulkin and there is talk that it may lead to the resignation of the man seen by many, as perhaps the best performing department head in the administration. 

Of particular concern, are findings related to the question of who paid for the flight for the Secretary's wife and how tickets to Wimbledon were procured. The reports results came as a surprise to the VSO's, as AMVETS Executive Director Joe Chennelly says Shulkin, at a breakfast meeting with the "Big 6" VSOs, had directly denied that there was any wrongdoing on his end. 

"He told us that the news was all incorrect and that in fact he had paid for his wife's travel," Chennelly said during a recent appearance on ConnectingVets.com's Morning Briefing. "He later told the Washington Post that he had purchased the Wimbledon tickets. Well, the Inspector General's report clearly shows both of those things are not true."

In addition to the findings on who paid for the flight and tennis tickets, the IG report found what Chennelly called "the most alarming part of all this." Namely that Shulkin's Chief of Staff, Vivieca Wright Simpson, altered an email attempting to retroactively provide justification for the $4,000 spent on Mrs. Shulkin's travel.

Chennelly says a conversation with Secretary Shulkin following the release of the report confirmed the dishonest statement made at the breakfast meeting, and addressed the e-mail issue.

"He told us yesterday he has already paid back the treasury for the $4,000 to the treasury," Chennelly said. "And he will take the recommendations of the IG, which include training, looking more into what the Chief of Staff did and provide the proper accountability for that."

Despite eventually admitting to the misdeeds, elected officials like Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO,) began calling for Shulkin's resgination:

The full interview with Chennelly, featuring an in-depth discussion on the Shulkin issue, is available below.

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