By JASON RUSSELL • 7/26/16 1:54 PM
Hundreds of veterans have died while waiting to get care from the Department of Veterans Affairs, all while the department spent millions of taxpayer dollars on high-end art.
According to an investigation by COX Media Washington, D.C. and American Transparency, the VA has spent $20 million on high-end art over the last 10 years, $16 million of that spent during President Obama's tenure.
The investigation found one particularly egregious example: $670,000 combined spent on two sculptures at a VA center for the blind.
Other examples include $21,000 spent on an artificial Christmas tree, $610,000 spent over five years for a new facility in Puerto Rico and more than a million dollars combined on three art projects in Palo Alto, Calif.
"Instead of hiring doctors to help triage backlogged veterans, the VA's bonus-happy bureaucracy spent millions of dollars on art," Andrew Andrzejewski, founder and CEO of OpenTheBooks.com, writes in Forbes. He notes that the VA spent more on sculptures than a five-bedroom home would cost and more on a Christmas tree than a car would cost.
"This money should be spent on health care, and not on art displays," Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., told ABC-Atlanta. "This is unacceptable. It's outrageous. And we have to stop it."
Jason Russell is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.