By Jonah Bennett
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) executives Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves, both implicated in a fraudulent scheme which netted $400,000, were demoted, but not fired, and will keep taxpayer money.
Despite the inspector general making criminal referrals regarding the actions of Rubens and Graves, VA will not take any action to recover the fraudulently-obtained funds. Although Rubens and Graves have been demoted to general employee status, they still each make over $100,000 per year. To make matters worse, Graves was awarded a bonus of over $8,000 this year.
“Apparently, actions that result in referral of criminal charges to the Department of Justice are not serious enough to merit being fired at the VA,” Concerned Veterans for America CEO Pete Hegseth said in a statement.
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, ranking member on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, asked in October for the DOJ to launch a criminal probe into $403,000 worth of relocation benefits sent to VA officials Rubens and Graves. The two execs, according to the inspector general, pressured subordinates to transfer positions so Rubens and Graves could then fill them and receive a generous bonus and relocation benefits. Blumenthal did not respond to a request for comment by press time regarding the demotion of Rubens and Graves.
Rubens and Graves kept their six-figure salaries after they arranged to transfer themselves to positions which involved fewer responsibilities.
Earlier this month, Rubens and Graves appeared before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and pleaded the Fifth Amendment when interrogated about their nefarious activities.
“For those wondering whether VA is committed to real accountability for corrupt employees, VA leaders answered that question today with a resounding ‘no,’” House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller said in a statement.
Rubens and Graves still have the right to appeal their demotions through the Merit Systems Protection Board, according to a statement from the VA.
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