The Washington Post

VA inspector general defends subpoena for watchdog’s whistleblower files

The inspector general’s office  for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on Friday defended its subpoena for watchdog group’s files on VA whistleblowers,  saying it is trying to obtain information needed for a complete review of the agency’s scheduling scandal.

(Charles Dharapak/AP) - Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters. (Charles Dharapak/AP) – Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters.

The IG is conducting a “massive investigation” into the manipulation of waiting lists for service at VA facilities, according to acting IG Richard J. Griffin. He  issued a subpoena to the Project On Government Oversight, an outside nonprofit organization, that has encouraged VA whistleblowers to contact the organization.

The group claims it has a constitutional right to withhold the materials and protect its sources. “For POGO to effectively operate as a government watchdog, we must assure our sources that their identities will not be revealed,” the organization said in a letter to VA Acting Inspector General Richard Griffin.

MORE: Watchdog group contests subpoena for whistleblower info on VA scandal

Similarly, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said in a letter to Griffin that the subpoena “may deter whistleblowers from coming forward to disclose important information that the public needs to know about how the VA is operating.”

In a reply sent Friday, Griffin said the sole reason of the subpoena was to “ensure that the Office of Inspector General had all the information available to conduct a thorough and complete investigation of these issues and hold individuals accountable when appropriate.”

Joe Davidson writes the Federal Diary, a column about federal government and workplace issues that celebrated its 80th birthday in November 2012. Davidson previously was an assistant city editor at The Washington Post and a Washington and foreign correspondent with The Wall Street Journal, where he covered federal agencies and political campaigns.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
New Hampshire has voted. The Democrats debate on Thursday. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Philip Rucker and Robert Costa say...
For Trump, the victory here was sweet vindication, showing that his atypical campaign could prevail largely on the power of celebrity and saturation media coverage. But there was also potential for concern in Tuesday's outcome. Trump faces doubts about his discipline as a candidate and whether he can build his support beyond the levels he has shown in the polls.
The Post's John Wagner and Anne Gearan say...
Hillary Clinton, who was declared the winner of the Iowa caucuses last week by the narrowest of margins, now finds herself struggling to right her once-formidable campaign against a self-described democratic socialist whom she has accused of selling pipe dreams to his supporters.
People have every right to be angry. But they're also hungry for solutions.
Hillary Clinton, in her New Hampshire primary night speech
I am going to be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.
Donald Trump, in his New Hampshire primary victory speech
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
See results from N.H.
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.