This post has been updated.
A House committee investigating spending by the Department of Veterans Affairs at two training conferences in Florida last year has released a “Patton” parody video produced by the VA.
The 18-minute video features an actor in a parody of George C. Scott’s famed opening scene in the 1970 film about Gen. George S. Patton, the controversial World War II U.S. Army commander. In the VA version, the Patton character exhorts the department’s human resources managers to attack their jobs with vigor.
The VA paid $52,000 to an outside company for the production of the video.
“I question the excessiveness in which taxpayer dollars are being used to fund multi-million dollar conferences,” Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said in a statement accompanying the release.
“This parody should never have been produced and this misuse of taxpayer funds is completely unacceptable,” the VA said in a statement. “This event took place over a year ago and we have already adopted new rules that reflect our continuing commitment to safeguarding taxpayer dollars.”
VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has vowed that VA “will hold accountable any individuals who are found to have misused taxpayer dollars or violated our standards of conduct,” according to the statement
Miller said he has requested “all budgets and materials for VA conferences that have occurred over the past three years to see if these two conferences are an anomaly or are part of a bigger pattern.”
The VA inspector general is investigating whether event planners and other organizers of the training for human resources employees took alcohol, concert tickets and spa treatments from vendors.
The VA said it has removed purchasing authority of any employees in the work unit under investigation.