Trump’s VA whistleblower office ‘floundered’ in its mission, investigators say


Trump’s VA whistleblower office ‘floundered’ in its mission, investigators say

by Nikki Wentling
Stars and Stripes

WASHINGTON — An office within the Department of Veterans Affairs that is responsible for protecting whistleblowers and investigating misconduct took “troubling” actions, was confused about its mission and retaliated against those it was tasked to protect.

The VA inspector general released these findings Thursday from its investigation into the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, which President Donald Trump created in 2017 to root out poor-performing employees. Congress later passed legislation putting the establishment of the office into federal law.

The IG initiated its probe in 2018 after concerns from Democrats about the office not following the intent of Congress. The investigation was prolonged until August of this year to address additional complaints and allegations.

The IG accused the former directors of the office, first Peter O’Rourke and then Kirk Nicholas, of “leadership failures” that led to “significant deficiencies” in how it operated.

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