Department Of Veterans Affairs Official Paid $288K In ‘Relocation Payments’ To Move 140 Miles

VA Official Paid $288K In ‘Relocation Payments’ To Move 140 Miles – Daily Caller

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The director of the Philadelphia VA regional benefits office was paid $288,000 in “relocation payments” to move the 140 miles from Washington, D.C. to her new home last year.

Diana Rubens was tapped last June to take over the Philadelphia regional benefits office, which is one of many VA hospitals and benefits offices currently being investigated over benefits claims.

Rubens, who previously served as the D.C.-based deputy undersecretary for field operations, where she oversaw 57 regional offices, was brought in to help fix the embattled Philadelphia facility.

A breakdown of Rubens’ “relocation payments” was not immediately available, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, but a VA spokesman said that there was nothing inappropriate with the spending.

Federal regulations allow for the reimbursement of relocation expenses including the “costs of house-hunting, moving, terminating leases, and a per-diem rate for meals and temporary housing for an employee and his or her family,” the spokesman said.

But that hefty repayment is nearly 160 percent of what Rubens earned in base pay all of last year, raising questions over what exactly that money could have gone towards.

Rubens was paid more than $181,000 in 2014, according to the website FedSmith.com, which maintains a database of federal employee compensation.

“The government shouldn’t be in the business of doling out hundreds of thousands in cash to extremely well-compensated executives just to move less than three hours down the road,” Florida Rep. Jeff Miller, the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, told the Inquirer.

“For VA to pay such an outrageous amount in relocation expenses at a time when the department is continually telling Congress and taxpayers it needs more money raises questions about VA’s commitment to fiscal responsibility, transparency and true reform.”

Rubens has been mentioned before in articles criticizing other money she’s been paid by the VA. According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, in 2011, she received a bonus of more than $23,000 even though patient backlogs – one area Rubens was in charge of managing – increased by 300,000.

The Washington Examiner reported last year that Rubens received more than $97,000 in bonuses between 2007 and 2011 even though the average time to process veterans’ claims doubled to 325 days on her watch. The ratio of backlogged cases nearly doubled as well, from 37 percent in 2009 to 71 percent in 2013.

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Corruption Update: State Department Official Was Ordered To Purge Benghazi Documents Damaging To Hillary

Report: Clinton State Dept Official Says He Was Ordered To Purge Benghazi Documents That Could Be Damaging To Hillary – Weasel Zippers

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What are the odds the MSM reports on Sharyl Attkisson’s bombshell report?

Via Sharyl Attkisson:

…According to former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, the after-hours session took place over a weekend in a basement operations-type center at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is the first time Maxwell has publicly come forward with the story.

At the time, Maxwell was a leader in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA), which was charged with collecting emails and documents relevant to the Benghazi probe. […]

Maxwell says the weekend document session was held in the basement of the State Department’s Foggy Bottom headquarters in a room underneath the “jogger’s entrance.” He describes it as a large space, outfitted with computers and big screen monitors, intended for emergency planning, and with small offices on the periphery.

When he arrived, Maxwell says he observed boxes and stacks of documents. He says a State Department office director, whom Maxwell described as close to Clinton’s top advisers, was there. Though the office director technically worked for him, Maxwell says he wasn’t consulted about her weekend assignment.

“She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” says Maxwell. He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisors.

“I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’”

Keep reading…

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Rep. Issa: Voicemail Left By Former Top Obama Regime Official A Clear Violation Of Federal Law (Audio)

Listen To The Voicemail Left By Former Top Obama Administration Official That Darrell Issa Says Is A Clear Violation Of Federal Law – The Blaze

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is sounding the alarm regarding new alleged audio of former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis leaving a voicemail for someone “off the record” to ask the individual to contribute and help organize a fundraising event for President Barack Obama’s campaign. Issa says Solis violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits political activity on official time.

In his opening statement during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Wednesday, Issa played the voicemail Solis reportedly left to pressure a Labor Department employee to donate to Obama’s re-election campaign.

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Read a transcript of the controversial Solis voicemail:

“Hi – this is Hilda Solis calling, um, just calling you off-the-record here – Wanted to ask you if you could, um, help us get folks organized to come to a fundraiser that we’re doing for Organizing for America for Obama campaign on Friday at La Fonda at 6 p.m. Steven Smith, an attorney, and his staff are helping us [inaudible]. There are a lot of folks that we know that are coming but wanted to ask you if you might help contribute or get other folks to help out. I would encourage you to call this number, [inaudible] – that’s his assistant – at [phone number] and you can call [the attorney] yourself who’s a good friend, an attorney, good friend of mine, at [phone number]. And it’s for a Friday event at La Fonda [inaudible] we’re just trying to raise money to show that we have support here in [inaudible].”

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Issa went on to slam the Obama administration for showing what he called an “indefensible” attempt to avoid oversight.

“It is deeply ironic that an administration claiming to be the most transparent ever, has resisted oversight of its political office and offered less corroboration than its predecessors,” he said.

Watch Issa’s full opening statement below:

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Former Maryland VA Official Pleads Guilty In $1.4M Fraud Scheme

Former VA Official Pleads Guilty In $1.4M Fraud Scheme – WBAL

A former Deputy Chief of Veterans Claims in the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs pleaded guilty Monday to extortion in connection with a scheme to fraudulently obtain over $1.4 million in veterans benefits.

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The plea agreement was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Kim R. Lampkins of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General.

In January 2011, U.S. Army veteran David Clark, age 67, of Hydes, Maryland, retired from the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs as the deputy chief for veterans claims. Clark’s duties included submitting claims and documentation on behalf of veterans in Maryland who appointed the MDVA to represent them in obtaining federal benefits from the VA. Clark also submitted documents to the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation in support of veterans’ applications for property tax waivers.

According to his plea agreement, while serving at Deputy Chief of Claims, Clark fraudulently obtained VA compensation for himself and at least 17 others, by submitting false documents to the VA purporting to show that the claimants had been diagnosed with diabetes, and in some cases, that the claimant had served in Vietnam when they had not. The claimants paid Clark half of the retroactive lump sum payment they received in cash or some other amount of cash. These payments to Clark were made in unmarked envelopes, at MDVA offices in Bel Air; at the Fallon Federal Building in Baltimore; and at other locations.

In support of these claims, Clark submitted fake letters from doctors purportedly treating the veterans, which falsely stated that the claimants suffered from Type II diabetes. Clark used the names and addresses of real doctors who were unaware of his conduct. Each letter stated that the diagnosis of Type II diabetes had been made a year or more prior to the date of the letter, which entitled each claimant to a retroactive lump-sum payment. The letters also stated that the claimants were currently taking insulin, which increased the amount of compensation the VA paid the claimant.

Clark created counterfeit versions of a Defense Department form for himself and five others, which falsely stated that each had served in Vietnam. These forms also falsely stated that these individuals had received various awards and decorations for the Vietnam service, including that Clark himself had been awarded the Purple Heart Medal. These documents were submitted to the VA to provide false evidence that they qualified for compensation benefits for diabetes.

Clark also submitted false certifications to the SDAT, on behalf of claimants that owned homes in Maryland, that the filers were entitled to a property tax waiver due to a service-connected disability.

The false claims cost the government $1,151,219 and the loss from the property tax evasion is $255,555, for a total loss of $1,407,134, officials said.

Clark faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Clark has agreed to forfeit $1,407,134.

A sentencing date is scheduled for Nov. 17.

Eight other veterans have previously pleaded guilty to paying Clark cash to submit false documentation to receive VA benefits:

* John Bratcher, 56, of Conowingo, Maryland, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force
* Richard Genco, 71, of Baltimore, a veteran of the U.S. Navy
* Paul Heard, 65, of Baltimore, a veteran of the U.S. Navy
* George Kulla, 68, of Baltimore, a veteran of the U.S. Army
* Sandra Tyree, 65, of Baltimore, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and former employee of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
* Kenneth Webster, 68, of Pasadena, Maryland, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and a former police officer with AMTRAK
* Raymond Sadler, 63, of Middle River, Maryland, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps
* Kenneth Williams, age 65, of Baltimore, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.

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Infernal Revenue Service “Lost” Emails From Official Who Met Repeatedly With Top Obama Assistant

IRS ‘Lost’ Emails From Official That Met With Top Obama Assistant – Daily Caller

An IRS official whose emails were “lost” visited the White House frequently during the agency’s targeting of conservatives and met with a top assistant to President Obama who exchanged confidential information on conservative groups with the IRS.

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The IRS recently claimed that it lost emails from Nikole Flax, who served as chief of staff to former IRS commissioner Steven Miller. Flax was one of seven IRS employees including ex-official Lois Lerner whose emails to and from White House officials and other Obama administration agencies were purportedly deleted and could not be handed over to congressional investigators.

Flax held personal meetings with a top assistant to President Obama and also colluded with Lerner to prosecute conservative activists.

Flax made 31 visits to the White House between July 12, 2010 and May 8, 2013, according to White House visitor logs. Flax’s visits started in the early days of the IRS targeting program and ended just two days before the IRS scandal broke on May 10, 2013.

Flax met twice in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with deputy assistant to the president for health policy Jeanne Lambrew, on Oct. 5, 2012 and Jan. 15, 2013.

Who is Jeanne Lambrew?

As The Daily Caller reported, Lambrew exchanged confidential taxpayer information on conservative groups with IRS official Sarah Hall Ingram in 2012 as the White House tried to figure out how to deal with a lawsuit filed by a religious organization fighting Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate. Lambrew also hosted 155 of Ingram’s 165 White House visits.

Lambrew, who started working for Obama as a health policy adviser to the then-senator’s 2008 presidential campaign, is identified as the most powerful official within the White House on Obamacare implementation.

Flax, who also met frequently at the White House with Obamacare architect Zeke Emanuel, also exchanged emails with Lerner that implicated Flax in the conservative targeting.

On May 8, 2013, the day that Flax made her last recorded White House visit, Lerner sent Flax an email asking for advice about a plan to coordinate with the Department of Justice to criminally prosecute conservative activists.

“I think we should do it,” Flax replied on May 9. “also need to include CI [Criminal Investigation Division], which we can help coordinate. Also, we need to reach out to FEC [Federal Election Commision]. Does it make sense to consider including them in this or keep it separate?”

The IRS’ loss of Flax’s emails drew unprecedented scorn from congressional investigators.

“Despite their attempt to bury the missing Lerner emails on page 15 of a 27 page letter that arrived late Friday, we now know documents from other central figures, like Nikole Flax, are missing,” House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Dave Camp and committee member Rep. Charles Boustany said in a statement. “The fact that Ms. Flax was a frequent visitor to the White House and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building only raises more questions. Who was she visiting at the White House and what were they talking about? Was she updating the White House on the targeting or was she getting orders? These are answers we don’t yet have, because — surprise, surprise — a few computers crashed. Plot lines in Hollywood are more believable than what we are getting from this White House and the IRS.”

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House Votes To Hold Parasitic Former IRS Official Lois Lerner In Contempt Of Congress (Video)

House Votes To Hold Former IRS Official Lois Lerner In Contempt – National Journal

The House voted to hold former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner in contempt on a 231-187 vote Wednesday, as Republicans work to uncover the depth of Lerner’s involvement in the agency’s targeting of conservative groups from 2010 to May 2013.

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Six Democrats broke with their party to support the contempt vote: Ron Barber of Arizona, John Barrow of Georgia, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, Nick Rahall of West Virginia, and Patrick Murphy of Florida. All are facing Republican challengers in tough districts for Democrats in November.

“Who’s been fired over the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS? No one that I’m aware of. Who’s gone to jail for violating the law? When is the administration going to tell the American people the truth?” House Speaker John Boehner told reporters Wednesday morning. “One would have to guess, if they’re not willing to tell the American people the truth, it must not be very pretty.”

Lerner was found in contempt of Congress after invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination at a House hearing last May. House Republicans argue that, because Lerner gave an opening speech testifying to her innocence in the inquiry before pleading the Fifth, she had waived her right to refuse to testify. Republicans subpoenaed Lerner to testify again in March, when she again asserted her right to remain silent, setting off the contempt proceedings.

The issue is now headed for the courts, where a judge will have to determine whether Republicans’ claim that Lerner waived her rights is correct. The House also voted Wednesday to request that Attorney General Eric Holder appoint a special prosecutor in the case. Twenty-six Democrats, including those who supported the contempt vote, backed this second vote. If convicted, Lerner faces a maximum penalty of a $100,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

This is the second time in as many years that the House has voted to hold a member of the Obama administration in contempt. In 2012, House Republicans and 17 Democrats voted to hold Holder in contempt of Congress over his refusal to turn over documents related to the Fast and Furious scandal. That contempt vote went nowhere, as members of the Justice Department announced they would not pursue criminal charges or a grand jury against the head of their own department. The administration later invoked executive privilege over the documents in question.

But Republicans say they feel more confident that the contempt vote against Lerner will be successful. “Eric Holder, of course, is the highest law-enforcement officer in the country. Lois Lerner is not,” said Rep. John Fleming, R-La. “And so she doesn’t enjoy the same level of protection that he does personally, and also she can’t claim executive privilege, which Eric Holder perhaps can.”

“There’s a fairly substantial difference between asking [Holder] to… prosecute himself and someone else,” a senior House Republican aide said.

But it’s unlikely that the administration’s response to Congress’s holding Lerner in contempt will be any different. Lerner has reportedly already been interviewed by the Justice Department, and anonymous “law-enforcement officials” told The Wall Street Journal in January that no criminal charges would be filed against IRS officials over their targeting of conservative groups. President Obama told Fox News during his Super Bowl interview that he does not believe the IRS displayed “a smidgen of corruption” in the matter.

All the same, Republicans are hopeful that the contempt vote will provide some real pressure for Lerner to testify.

“Ultimately, she’s going to be forced to either come forward and testify, or she’s going to have to apply for immunity and testify,” Fleming says. “And pressure will continue to mount until that happens… And if not, again, I think there’s a lot of mounting evidence against her – criminal evidence – and so we’re going to continue to mount the pressure and this is just a next step in that direction.”

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Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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