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Sen. Grassley Wants The VA To Answer To Discrepancies In Art Spending
Last month, Sen. Chuck Grassley asked the Department of Veterans Affairs why they had allegedly spent $20 million on art since 2010 based on a report by OpenTheBooks.com. The VA responded to Grassley’s inquires, and in that answer, they recognize their spending was unnecessarily high. Robert Snyder, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Chief of Staff, says in the letter, "We acknowledge the poor decision-making regarding artwork purchases at Palo Alto." In a follow-up to the original response, the VA claims to only have spent $4.7 million dollars since January 2010. Grassley answered that claim with a statement of his own, saying, "There’s a major discrepancy in the dollar amount spent on high end art. OpenTheBooks.com found approximately $20 million spent on art from 2004 and 2014." Grassley intends to press the VA on that difference in the two reported amounts. He went on to say, "Veterans deserve a good environment in every hospital, but most of all, they deserve the care they need when they need it. Buying expensive artwork sends the message that the VA has its priorities out of whack. Not being able to account completely for the purchases also raises questions." The VA did send Grassley a spreadsheet detailing art purchases but said it contains proprietary information that should not be released to the public. Sen. Grassley is waiting for clarification from the VA and is not releasing the spreadsheet at this time.