Veterans group sues over VA 'shadow rulers' from Mar-a-Lago

Matt Saintsing
August 17, 2018 - 12:06 pm

Photo by Xinhua/Wang Ying

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A progressive veterans organization is suing to halt the influence of three outside informal VA advisors, following a startling investigation from ProPublica. 

VoteVets filed a suit Thursday with the assistance of Democracy Forward to block what is known as the “Mar-a-Lago Council” and “compel the Trump administration to fully disclose the role of the President’s private golf club is playing in shaping decisions that affect millions of veterans.” 

“The health and safety of America’s veterans isn’t a game for President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago members to play with between rounds of golf,” said Will Fischer, Iraq War veteran, and director of government relations for VoteVets. “It’s not just insulting that veterans were forced to sue the Trump administration to have a voice in its veterans policies, it’s dangerous because we don’t know what other private interests may be affecting life and death decisions of veterans, under the shroud of darkness.” 

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, comes a week after ProPublica, citing hundreds of pages of documents and interviews, named Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter, Dr. Bruce Moskowitz, and attorney Marc Sherman are individuals who were the White House’s handpicked “shadow rulers” to VA, none of which have military experience or policy chops. 

VoteVets also is asking that any future communication and meetings of the three men be made publically available. 

Last week, Democratic ranking member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee Rep. Tim Walz (Minn.) sent an open letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie calling for an investigation into the troika. He wrote that the “situation reeks of corruption and cronyism.” 

If the allegation proved true, Walz added, “That would amount to an unprecedented, disturbing, and profoundly unacceptable betrayal of our nation’s veterans.”  

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