AAN Exclusive: How This Top Dem Senate Candidate Squandered Millions Meant for Veteran's Care

  • 2016-08-11
  • Source: AAN
  • by: Jackson Richman
Illinois representative Tammy Duckworth, also running for the Senate this year, has come under attack for spending over $4.33 million on artwork, sculptures, murals, statues and interior design while serving as Assistant Secretary at the Department of Veterans Affairs from 2009 to 2011.
 
“An investigation recently uncovered that while veterans across the country were suffering from lengthy wait times at VA facilities that were understaffed, $20 million was spent on artwork for decorations,” according to a press release by her opponent, Illinois senator Mark Kirk. “It appears Duckworth did nothing about this excessive spending on adornments while American veterans were waiting for healthcare.” The $20 million expenditure on artwork across VA facilities nationwide since 2004 was uncovered by the watchdog Open the Books.
 
Kirk’s campaign manager, Kevin Artl, said, “As veterans suffered from lengthy wait times and a lack of access to critical care, the VA leadership continued spending millions of taxpayer dollars on artwork and no one at the VA stopped it, including Assistant Secretary Duckworth."
 
According to Kirk’s campaign, included in the art purchases were a $15,054.48 in artwork and wall murals at the VA bureau in Danville, Illinois in 2010; and $3,897.75 in car magnets with eagle artwork at the VA bureau El Paso in 2011.
 
“It's impossible to believe that Duckworth will be a vigilant watchdog for taxpayers when her own agency spent millions on art instead of critical healthcare for veterans," Artl said.
 
Artl said in an email to American Action News, “She was just one of seven assistant secretaries and she reported directly to Secretary Shinseki, she should have known and she should have put a stop to it."
 
“This issue demonstrates misplaced priorities by the VA. They spend millions on art instead of hiring more doctors and nurses to alleviate the wait times veterans face for health care," he added.
 
The Duckworth campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
 
In the latest poll conducted by Basswood Research, Kirk leads Duckworth 41.9 to 40.4 percent, respectively, with the margin of error plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
 Source: AAN
Tags: Issues: Veterans, AAN Exclusive; Categories:

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