Senators Back VA Whistleblower’s Claim of Harassment

Senators Back VA Whistleblower’s Claim of Harassment

Senators Back VA Whistleblower’s Claim of Harassment

By Debbie Gregory

Two Republican senators are defending a Department of Veterans Affairs whistle-blower and his claims of retaliation. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, said that they were grateful to Kuauhtemoc Rodriguez for coming forward despite extreme personal risk.

The Phoenix VA Medical Center employee helped expose the doctoring of records that resulted in “serious patient waitlist improprieties.”

As a result, then-VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned. But also as a result, Rodriguez was subjected to bullying by his superiors. But then whistle-blowers across the nation started reporting their own VA horrors

“The retaliation allegations included moving the whistleblower to a closet re-purposed as an office without proper air conditioning for almost two years, unlawful access of his medical records, verbal and physical threats of violence and bullying, the vandalizing of his car and an ordered appearance before a review board in an attempt to fire him,” the two senators said.

When the scandal broke in 2014, senior managers at VA facilities were found to have instructed their staffs to deliberately cover up long waits for appointments.

“Sometimes whistleblowers expose matters of life and death, other times they expose harm against the taxpayers, and sometimes they expose all of the above,” Sen Grassley wrote in a release. “Kuauhtemoc Rodriguez of the Phoenix VA deserves praise and gratitude for coming forward about problems that cover all of the above.”