Just when you think the sad story of the VA can’t get worse, a new more depressing chapter is unveiled. FoxNews’ Elizabeth Harrington reports that while a thousand veterans were dying, the VA was spending $20 million on artworks. Lack of prioritization is a death knell to any privately run business, but in government, it seems to be de rigueur.
The Veterans Affairs administration spent $20 million on expensive artwork and sculptures amidst the healthcare scandal, where thousands of veterans died waiting to see doctors.
The taxpayer watchdog group Open the Books teamed up with COX Media Washington, D.C., for an oversight report on spending at the VA, finding numerous frivolous expenditures on artwork, including six-figure dollar sculptures at facilities for the blind.
“In the now-infamous VA scandal of 2012-2015, the nation was appalled to learn that 1,000 veterans died while waiting to see a doctor,” wrote Adam Andrzejewski, the founder and CEO of Open the Books, in an editorial forForbes. “Tragically, many calls to the suicide assistance hotline were answered by voicemail. The health claim appeals process was known as ‘the hamster wheel’ and the appointment books were cooked in seven of every ten clinics.”
“Yet, in the midst of these horrific failings the VA managed to spend $20 million on high-end art over the last ten years—with $16 million spent during the Obama years,” Andrzejewski said.
The VA spent $21,000 for a 27 foot fake Christmas tree; $32,000 for 62 “local image” pictures for the San Francisco VA; and $115,600 for “art consultants” for the Palo Alto facility.
A “rock sculpture” cost taxpayers $482,960, and more than a half a million dollars were spent for sculptures for veterans that could not see them.