Political Editors / Aug. 9, 2016

VA Wastes Millions on Designers and Solar Projects

Meanwhile, veterans are needlessly dying.

The scandal-plagued VA can be called many things, but add to the list the Department of Veneer Application or any other iteration of interior design. According to a Daily Caller investigation, the agency employs 167 interior decorators whose jobs include anything from “picking window blind colors” to “buying millions of dollars of art each year” ($16 million worth of art was purchased under Obama alone). The Caller estimates it cost $17 million annually to compensate these designers. Under Obama’s tenure, that comes out to about $136 million.

Sadly, the extravagant waste on art and design is just the tip of the iceberg. A recent Officer of Inspector General audit discovered more extraneous waste on taxpayer-funded solar projects. On August 3, the IG reported:

> “We reviewed 11 of 15 solar projects awarded from fiscal year (FY) 2010 through FY 2013 that were a work-in-progress as of May 2015. At the completion of our audit work in March 2016, only 2 of 11 solar projects were fully completed. In July 2016, VA informed us that 5 of 11 solar projects were fully completed. This occurred because of planning errors, design changes, a lengthy interconnection process, and contractor delays. As a result, VA did not increase renewable energy for those solar projects in the time frame planned and incurred additional costs through needed contract modifications.”

How much money are we talking about here? Close to half a billion. The report states, “VA has spent over $408 million from fiscal year (FY) 2010 through FY 2015 including just over $48 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.” Just imagine what 167 new doctors or shifting $400 million away from failed solar projects could accomplish. At the very least, fewer patients on waiting lists would be dying.

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