VA Watchdog Subpoenas Advocacy Group

Veterans Affairs acting Inspector General Richard Griffin Veterans Affairs acting Inspector General Richard Griffin Cliff Owen/AP

The Veterans Affairs Department’s inspector general, whose reports on apparent misreporting of veterans waiting times at medical centers triggered the current scandal, has subpoenaed a whistleblower advocacy group for records on reported abuses at VA facilities.

The nonprofit Project on Government Oversight declined to cooperate with the May 30 demand. In a letter sent to the IG on Monday, POGO said the subpoena infringes on the group’s constitutional “freedom of speech, freedom of press, and freedom of association rights as they relate to all whistleblowers and sources.”

Just as the VA controversy was breaking, POGO on May 15 announced it was teaming up with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to launch a whistleblower website called It has since received 700 reports of alleged mismanagement at VA medical centers, POGO reported, a fourth of which are from current or former VA staff. The remainder are from veterans, family members or friends of veterans, a POGO spokesman said.

The letter from acting VA Inspector General Richard Griffin demanded “all records POGO has received from current or former employees” of the VA, veterans and other individuals or entities relating to wait times, access to care, or scheduling issues at any VA facility.

Providing legal citations backing its position, POGO also noted that it promised confidentiality to those who made reports to its website pending POGO’s own investigations, and that many of the people who made reports had also reported their complaints to the IG’s office.

“The inspector general’s demand stands opposed to POGO’s mission and to good government reform -- both of which serve the public interest,” said POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian, who signed the letter with POGO General Counsel Scott Amey. “Our focus is squarely on investigating the problems in the VA healthcare system and trying to find some solutions.”

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.