A joint investigation with COX Media and OpenTheBooks.com
found that the Department of Veterans Affairs is more preoccupied with spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on high-end pieces of artwork than it is with caring for our country's former military officials.
that over the last 10 years, the VA spent a total of $20 million on various pieces of art, with $16 million of that having been spent during the Obama administration.
Considering the VA's most recent scandal, this is not the smartest decision they could have made. Instead of spending our
money in a beneficial way, such as hiring more than a mere 3,591 ‘Medical Officers’ out of a total of 39,454 newly-created positions
between 2012-2015, they decided to purchase things like a 27-foot artificial Christmas tree, pictures, and various sculptures.
I wonder when I'll be receiving my thank-you letter from the VA for assisting them in their fancy purchases.
According to Forbes
, the VA used the money to purchase:
- A twenty-seven foot artificial Christmas tree costing $21,000 (2011).
- 62 "local image" pictures for the San Francisco VA facility costing $32,000 (2014).
- A "Ribbons of Honor" glass sculpture with five glass panels symbolic of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard by Weet Design for a VA outpatient center in Anchorage, AK costing $100,000 (2010). Artwork for the "interior commons wall" by Red Door Studio costing $65,000 (2009) and artwork for the "canteen" by artist David Deroux costing $30,000 (2009).
- Fabrication and installation of the "Gradient Arc" for the VA Palo Alto Health Care System costing $330,775 (2014). "Harbor" glass and light art by Studio GH costing $220,000 (2014) – showcased in this video. A $482,960 "rock sculpture" procured during courtyard renovation and $115,600 spent on "art consultants" for the Palo Alto facility.
There were also two sculptures purchased for a VA center meant to assist blind veterans, which cost a total of $670,000. A VA facility in San Juan, Puerto Rico received artwork that cost more than $610,000. Centers in Minneapolis, Biloxi, Miss., and Salem, Va., were given decor costing about $560,000.
"The problems at the VA are worse than anyone imagined," Coburn said.
"Over the past decade, more than 1,000 veterans may have died as a result of VA malfeasance," the senator added. "Poor management is costing the department billions of dollars more and compromising veterans’ access to medical care."
Really poor management, that’s for sure.