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Decorating the Department of Veterans Affairs

Monday August 1st, 2016   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 6:32am PDT   •  

Just when you think that the Department of Veterans Affairs might finally be starting to get its act together, along comes yet another example that demonstrates how far out of whack the priorities of its senior leadership and supervisors have been.

A joint investigation by Open the Books and WSB-TV News of Atlanta, GA, has turned up new examples of even more frivolous things that the VA’s leaders have chosen to spend money on instead of investing in resources that could provide timely medical care to the nation’s veterans.

The VA’s Palo Alto, CA, facility parking garage, featured in the news clip above, is an example of the agency’s wasteful spending on artwork that also made the 2015 Wastebook.

Neither of these new stories, however, communicates the scale at which the VA engaged in buying artwork for its facilities in recent years, which can be seen in the following chart.


The artwork featured in the chart, titled “Aggregate”, cost $482,980 and is featured at the VA’s Palo Alto Medical Center. Like the colorful Morse-code pattern that added $285,000 to the cost of the facility’s parking garage, it too will not be seen by the 200 blind veterans receiving treatment each year at the Western Blind Rehabilitation Center based at the VA’s Palo Alto facility.

If the VA went back to its pre-2008 level of spending on artwork to decorate its facilities, it would have at least an additional $2 million per year to spend on providing care.

If only the VA’s bureaucrats didn’t have other priorities.

Featured Image:
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

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August 2016