The Bureaucratic Blind Eye


Monday December 11th, 2017   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 6:17am PDT   •  

82494678 - rear view of businesswoman raising her hand against white background A brand new scandal has broken out at the Department of Veterans Affairs, where the fingerprints of the department’s bureaucrats are all over the latest evidence of misconduct. USA Today’s Donavan Slack broke the story:

Neurosurgeon John Henry Schneider racked up more than a dozen malpractice claims and settlements in two states, including cases alleging he made surgical mistakes that left patients maimed, paralyzed or dead.

He was accused of costing one patient bladder and bowel control after placing spinal screws incorrectly, he allegedly left another paralyzed from the waist down after placing a device improperly in his spinal canal. The state of Wyoming revoked his medical license after another surgical patient died.

Schneider then applied for a job earlier this year at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Iowa City, Iowa. He was forthright in his application about the license revocation and other malpractice troubles.

But the VA hired him anyway.

He started work in April at a hospital that serves 184,000 veterans in 50 counties in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri.

Some of his patients already have suffered complications. Schneider performed four brain surgeries in a span of four weeks on one 65-year-old veteran who died in August, according to interviews with Schneider and family members. He has performed three spine surgeries on a 77-year-old Army veteran since July—the last two to try and clean up a lumbar infection from the first, the patient said.

Schneider’s hiring is not an isolated case.

Slack goes on to document several other instances in which the VA’s bureaucrats knowingly overlooked the history of the medical professionals they hired, where evidence and findings of malpractice, license suspensions and other misconduct were either ignored or dismissed, where the consequences of those hiring decisions have negatively impacted the quality of treatment that America’s miltary veterans receive at the VA. The new scandal has already drawn bipartisan attention on Capitol Hill demanding an investigation.

Alas, the knowing hiring of individuals with shady track records is not an isolated to the bureaucrats at the VA. The scandal-plagued Internal Revenue Service has behaved similarly. Accounting Today‘s Michael Cohn reports:

The Internal Revenue Service rehired more than 200 employees with previous conduct and performance issues, according to a new government report.

The report, from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, found that 10 percent of the more than 2,000 former employees rehired by the IRS between January 2015 and March 2016 had been previously fired while under investigation for a substantiated conduct or performance issue.

Of the more than 200 rehired employees, 86 had been “separated” from the IRS while they under investigation for absences and leave, workplace disruption, or failure to follow instructions. Four had been terminated or resigned for willful failure to properly file their federal tax returns; while another four employees had been separated from their jobs while under investigation for unauthorized accesses to taxpayer information. On top of that, 27 former employees didn’t disclose a previous termination or conviction on their application, as required, but were nonetheless rehired by the IRS.

Both hiring scandals can be considered to be evidence of a culture of corrupt cronyism within the U.S. government, where its bureaucrats care first and foremost about putting their own interests before all others and to the exclusion of serving the interests of regular Americans. A third case of insider cronyism within a U.S. government agency can be found in recent news headlines involving the largely redundant Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where the quitting head of the bureau attempted to install his deputy as his replacement in defiance of federal laws governing the filling of permanent vacancies, where the deputy’s legal claim to the position was subsequently refused by a federal court.

To quote Ian Fleming from his James Bond novel Goldfinger: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.” At what point will regular Americans receive both the answers and accountability they deserve from the bureaucrats in these agencies who claim to serve the public?




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