An FBI investigation into criminal allegations at the Temple Veterans Affairs facility will soon be underway, U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, announced Wednesday.
The Olin E. Teague Veterans Medical Center in Temple has been embroiled in the appointment-scheduling controversy surrounding the VA over the past few months.
Documentation on employees altering the desired appointment dates of veterans to appease wait-time requirements goes back to a 2012 Inspector General’s report.
“We need an investigative body that can look into criminal allegations, which is why my Texas colleagues and I have called for a FBI investigation,” Carter said Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
“Anyone participating in illegal activities needs to be terminated immediately and held accountable for their crimes, not be relocated to another VA facility where they can mistreat veterans at a different facility. We need to fire these corrupt bureaucrats and hire honest public servants who are dedicated to honoring our veterans and repaying them for the sacrifices they have made for our freedom.”
Army Reserve Capt. Louie Minor, Carter’s Democratic opponent in November’s election, said a criminal investigation is not the way to go. It will make employees more fearful, he said.
“Who are you going to look at?” Minor asked. “The people who (brought) the issue to your attention and you didn’t do anything about it? Obviously, they had to keep on doing what their management told them or they would face some punitive repercussion.
“I hope they start off with investigating John Carter’s office since he had prior knowledge,” he added.
Instead, Minor said he would ask the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System director what she thinks needs to be done to solve the problems.
“We need a debate,” Minor said. “We need a debate about this in front of the people, the voters, the veterans. The time for hiding is not over. It’s time for talking.”
Officials at the Temple-based health care system did not respond for comment on the investigation.
Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here. You can contact Rose L. Thayer at email@example.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.