Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are trying to change the culture at the Veterans Affairs Department and they say it starts with protecting whistleblowers.
The Office of Special Counsel is looking into nearly 70 cases where workers at the VA allege they were punished for trying to report the culture of falsifying data that has plagued VA offices nationwide. The House and Senate are working out their differences on legislation to make it easier for the head of the VA to fire bad apples, but McCaskill’s bill would require the agency to also get rid of any officials who tried to quiet whistleblowers. She says the time is right.
“Clearly there was a culture issue here and one of the most important things about cleaning up a culture is making sure that people who blow the whistle feel protected, and I want to make sure as start a new page at VA that whistleblowers know those protections are in place and it means holding people accountable who mistreated whistleblowers," McCaskill says.
McCaskill says changing the culture is an uphill battle.
“People change at the top — the political appointments at the very top — and you have changes at the bottom and the middle management gets calcified," she says.
Investigators are looking into nearly 70 cases of whistleblowers being retaliated against.