GOP lawmaker calls for Shulkin to resign


In a Twitter message, he wrote, "It's exactly corruption and abuses like this that doesn't help our veterans".

The report said that VA ethics officials approved airfare expenses for Shulkin's wife, amounting to $4,312, only after his chief of staff, Vivieca Wright Simpson altered emails to represent falsely "that Secretary Shulkin would receive an award while in Denmark, which Ms. Wright Simpson understood to be the criterion that would justify Dr. Bari's travel at VA expense". "I relied upon my staff to do this, and in retrospect, I wish that I had asked more questions", said Shulkin.

"Although the [inspector general's office] can not determine the value VA gained from the Secretary and his delegation's three and a half days of meetings in Copenhagen and London at a cost of at least $122,334, the investigation revealed serious derelictions by VA personnel", Missal wrote.

The inspector general referred the report to the Justice Department, which decided not to prosecute in the case.

The trip included Secretary Shulkin, his wife Merle Bari, a six-person security staff, and three other Veterans Affairs executives, "ostensibly to attend meetings in Denmark and a summit on veterans' affairs in London".

Veterans Affairs chief David Shulkin reportedly improperly used taxpayer money to fly his wife to Europe and accepted tickets to Wimbeldon. It was scheduled for official business, but it quickly turned into a "sightseeing" trip, according to USA Today's reporting.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Environmental Protection Administration head Scott Pruitt have acknowledged the use of government or private flights at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars.

When investigators reached Gosling by email - after 19 failed attempts to get her on the phone - she described Shulkin and his wife as "friends of mine", and said the tickets were a thank you for their "personal support to me whilst I was CEO Invictus Games Orlando".

Shulkin is just one of several Cabinet members facing scrutiny over their official travel. "It is time to clean house at the VA and it starts with the resignation of Secretary Shulkin". Shulkin said he could have done more to ensure he was better informed. Investigators informed the Department of Justice about Simpson, but the DOJ chose to not pursue criminal prosecution at this time, according to the report.

The report also found that Shulkin directed a VA aide to organize his extensive leisure activities while she was on the clock, stating that the employee "effectively acted as a personal travel concierge".

Several other Trump cabinet members have been faulted for excessive travel expenses, with Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Tom Price resigning past year.

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin speaks about issues regarding the VA, during a luncheon at the National Press Club, on November 6, 2017 in Washington, DC. Its report said federal ethics rules prohibit the "acceptance of any gift given because of the employee's official position", or if it comes from a "prohibited source". The agency's inspector general launched an investigation and confirmed the concerns raised by the newspaper-and more.

"We believe that public officials must be held to a higher standard, and whether intentional or not, misusing taxpayer dollars is unacceptable", leading lawmakers on veterans' issues said in a joint statement. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and his wife have been targets of investigation - along with mockery - over their actions and excessive trips.