As United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch prepares to defend the bathroom rights for transgenders in North Carolina, she dealt another blow to veterans by refusing to defend a provision in a case against the former head of the VA in Phoenix. The provision could lead to the rehiring of Sharon Helman, the former head of the Phoenix Veterans Affairs who has a lawsuit pending against the U.S. government.
AZ Central reported that Sharon Helman, the former VA Hospital director at the Phoenix VA, was convicted of criminal misconduct in office, a felony. Helman won a key victory in her lawsuit against the federal government when she challenged her termination. Despite her felony conviction, Helman’s victory in her lawsuit opened the door for her to return to work at the VA.
— Bobby Freedom (@BobbyFreedom1) June 2, 2016
Representative Jeff Miller, Republican, Florida, criticized the decision because President Obama signed the Choice Act, which was meant to improve VA accountability.
“Today, the Obama Administration sent a message loud and clear to felons. You will be coddled and protected at the Department of Veterans Affairs, which even before this decision was routinely tolerating egregious behavior among employees…. This decision only underscores the urgent need for civil service reform across the federal government.”
Helman was accused of oversight failure because of the problems veterans were experiencing at the Phoenix VA. Problems included a fraudulent scheduling system and retaliation against whistleblowers. Helman also falsified conflict of interest documents concealing $50,000 in gifts from lobbyists.
Although the Attorney General took an oath to uphold the Constitution and is considered the United State’s highest law enforcement official after the president, Loretta Lynch has repeatedly refused to enforce various laws passed by Congress while defending illegal immigrants and transgenders. Lawmakers in Washington are angry about her stance in enforcing federal law, particularly as it relates to veterans.
— Lauren Carr (@TheMysteryLadie) April 7, 2016
In the Washington Times, Lynch tried to justify her stance in failing to carry out this provision of the law to protect veterans by saying it was unconstitutional. A justice official said that the Department of Justice’s legal view is limited on the question of whether or not a VA employee can be fired.
“The department determined that one aspect of the procedures to review the lawfulness of the employee’s removal — the provision giving an administrative judge final and unreviewable discretion to determine if the removal was lawful — violates the U.S. Constitution. The department continues to defend all other aspects of the statute in this matter.”
Lawmakers blasted Loretta Lynch’s decision to refuse to enforce the provision because they said it paves the way for Sharon Helman to get her job back at the VA. Helman is seeking to her reinstatement.
— Mayor Loü (@mayorlou) April 17, 2015
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, several senators have proposed radical changes in the VA healthcare system in order to solve the problems veterans are having in receiving care at the VA. Some of the suggestions included allowing veterans to schedule appointments online and allowing veterans to choose their healthcare.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch notified House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy that the Justice Department would not be enforcing the clause in Sharon Helman’s case. The Justice Department issued a statement saying it was their job to enforce the Constitution and defend the rights of all, not defend statutes in the absence of reasonable arguments.
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