Last week, an internal investigation at the Department of Veterans Affairs found that Secretary David Shulkin had misused government resources during a trip to Europe. The report states that Shulkin had spent half of his trip sightseeing, and his wife’s $4,000 plane ticket was obtained by falsely stating that Secretary Shulkin was receiving an award in Denmark. Shulkin briefly addressed the scandal on Thursday during a congressional hearing on the FY 2019 budget request. “Thank you for keeping the focus of today on the on the important work that we have,” Shulkin said. “…I do regret the decisions that have been made that have taken the focus off of that important work.” “He walked out of that meeting relatively unscathed,” Nicole Ogrysko, reporter for Federal News Radio told Government Matters. “…Except for some comments from Congressman Mike Coffman, there really wasn’t a whole lot of questioning about the IG report.” Because the VA was one of the few parts of the Trump administration that did not have a major scandal in the past year, this may have effects on the rest of the White House. “Trump has been able to refer to them for a lot of successes, legislative victories, and now this calls into question what’s going to happen at the VA,” said Leo Shane III, Capitol Hill bureau chief at the Military Times. Due to being implicated in the report, Shulkin’s chief of staff Vivieca Wright Simpson resigned early Friday afternoon.
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