Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin has been under review over a trip he took to Europe last year, and it seems ethics watchdogs have found out that he and his team made falsified statements in order to get his expenses covered with taxpayer money.
Washington Post reports that when Shulkin and his wife traveled to London and Denmark in July, VA official Vivieca Wright Simpson “doctored an email” about the trip. The purpose was to look like Shulkin was on a business trip that involved receiving an award from the Danish government.
This was used as a pretense to cover thousands of dollars worth of airfare for Shulkin’s wife, and ethics investigators say that Shulkin’s team made several other misleading statements over the trip’s key details.
Shulkin also improperly accepted a gift of tickets to a Wimbledon tennis match worth thousands of dollars, the investigation found, and directed an aide coordinating the trip to act as what the report called a “personal travel concierge” to him and his wife.
“Although the [inspector general’s office] cannot determine the value VA gained from the Secretary and his delegation’s three and a half days of meetings in Copenhagen and London at a cost of at least $122,334, the investigation revealed serious derelictions by VA personnel,” the watchdog concluded.
This new makes Shulkin the latest Trump Administration member to come under scrutiny for potentially using taxpayer funds for personal reasons. Heath and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was forced to resign over a similar controversy last year, and Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have also raised questions with their travels in the past.
[Image via screengrab]