Statement of Danielle Brian, Executive Director, Project On Government Oversight:
Richard Griffin’s decision to step down from his leadership role at the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Veterans Affairs is welcome news.
The VA’s Office of Inspector General is in desperate need of new leadership—the kind of aggressive and independent oversight sorely lacking under Mr. Griffin’s tenure. As a group of VA whistleblowers pointed out this week in calling for his firing, Mr. Griffin has long been part of the problem and not the solution at the embattled agency.
Instead of being a champion of whistleblowers, Mr. Griffin was part of the VA’s toxic culture of intimidation and retaliation. When whistleblowers are fearful approaching their IG with information, there is a serious problem.
As I said during my testimony before a Senate panel earlier this month, there are inherent problems with allowing temporary IGs, such as Mr. Griffin, to lead an office for an extended period of time. Hopefully, Mr. Griffin’s departure will underscore the long-overdue need for President Obama to appoint a permanent Inspector General who can help fix this department's serious failings—the health and welfare of our veterans are in the balance.
Follow the link to read Danielle Brian’s testimony.