Bad Charity: A charity set-up by veterans to help veterans sounds like an excellent idea. But, according to Charity Navigator, the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation is among the worst charitable organizations in the country. NVVF has raised over $27 million over the past four years, yet last year only 2% of the money raised last year actually went towards programs aimed at helping veterans. The rest went to paying salaries, travel, parking, and professional fundraising. Sounds bad, right? Well, it gets much worse. The CEO and founder of NVVA, Thomas Burch, is an employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs where he works as a lawyer earning $127,000 annually. Thanks to the work of CNN, the VA Inspector General’s office is now undertaking an investigation into the situation involving Mr. Burch. We will keep you updated on any developments as the story develops.
Executive Sentences: Former Phoenix VA Director Sharon Helman was in court yesterday to learn her fate on charges that she had failed to disclose over $50,000 in gifts she received from a lobbyist friend. Helman, who had pleaded guilty, sent a letter to the judge telling him that she did not realize that she was supposed to report the gifts, which included am $11,000 Disneyland vacation, among other things. The judge presiding over the case wondered aloud whether Helman’s statement indicated that she was failing to accept responsibility for her crimes. At the end of the day, the judge sentenced Helman to two years probation, meaning that she will not have to serve any time in prison.
- Defending VA: In an Op-Ed published in The Hill, the president of a major union representing VA employees argues that the VA is not broken, but rather that the whole situation is being sensationalized.
- Press 1 for Veterans: At a press conference yesterday, VA executive Matt Eitutis admitted that 30 percent of calls placed to the VA Crisis line are still being routed to backup call centers where staff are not trained to deal with the unique problems facing veterans.
- Felonious Nurse: A VA Nurse in Baton Rouge, Louisiana was arrested on felony charges yesterday. She is accused of falsifying paperwork following the death of a veteran patient at a local nursing home.
Did you see an interesting story about veterans or the VA in the news today? Let us know by sending us an email (links@brokenVA.com) or by visiting the contact page. We’ll try to include your link in our next edition of Headlines.