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Undated: Robert Leon Wilkie Jr. (born August 2, 1962) is an American lawyer and government official serving as the United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs. On July 23, 2018, Wilkie was confirmed by the United States Senate as the next Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He was sworn in on July 30, 2018.
Prior to becoming the VA Secretary, Wilkie served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness from November 30, 2017 to July 30, 2018. An intelligence officer in the United States Naval Reserve, he was previously nominated for a Department of Defense position by U.S. President George W. Bush on June 20, 2006, and his appointment was approved by the Senate on September 30, 2006.
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July 24: 5 things to know about incoming VA secretary Robert Wilkie
October 9: Ranking Member Walz: Unacceptable for VA to Stonewall Congressional Inquiry into Mar-a-Lago Shadow Rulers
In a letter, Walz pressed VA to comply with Congressional inquiry into alleged shadow rulers Ike Perlmutter, Bruce Moskowitz, and Marc Sherman
Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Tim Walz (D-MN), released the following statement after he sent a letter to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie urging the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to comply with an August 8 request to provide the Committee any and all communications between VA officials and Ike Perlmutter, Bruce Moskowitz, and Marc Sherman as well as travel records to and from Mar-a-Lago.
The August 8 request followed news reports that the three men, all members of President Trump’s private Palm Beach, Florida club Mar-a-Lago, had been secretly exerting sweeping influence over VA and the administration’s approach to veterans policy. Today’s letter was sent in response to VA’s refusal to comply with the August 8 request, which was conveyed to the committee in a letter received from Secretary Wilkie on September 28.
“VA’s refusal to cooperate with this inquiry is absolutely unacceptable,” said Ranking Member Walz. “When the story of VA shadow rulers at Mar-a-Lago first broke, my office immediately reached out to VA requesting information pertaining to the three individuals’ influence over the Department. Since then, we have received nothing from VA except excuses. The reports of corruption and cronyism are serious and we cannot allow VA to sweep this under the rug. This issue will remain a top concern of the Committee until all our questions have been answered.”
October 10: Wilkie won’t share documents that could reveal extent of Mar-a-Lago influence on VA
Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie has yet to share documentation that some lawmakers suspect could link agency officials to three members of President Donald Trump’s club in Palm Beach, Fla., who were reported to have major influence over veterans policies.
Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, requested the information following a ProPublica investigation in August that revealed a trio of wealthy Mar-a-Lago members with no U.S. military experience were effectively running the VA in secret. The report prompted widespread outcry from Democrats and veterans organizations.
October 12: Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie has refused to provide U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, the ranking Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, with copies of emails and other internal communications between Department of Veterans Affairs officials and three members of President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago country club who allegedly influenced VA policies and executive hiring and firing decisions for at least a year.
Wilkie told Walz in a Sept. 14 letter that the documents the Minnesota congressman seeks are “the subject of ongoing litigation alleging violations of the Federal Advisory Committee Act and, therefore, not appropriate for release at this time.”
“It’s stonewalling, plain and simple,” Walz said in an interview last week, adding, “This just reeks of corruption. It’s cronyism.”
Hours later Walz’s office sent a second letter to Wilkie. This one set a new deadline of Oct. 31 for the VA to release all documents showing VA interactions with billionaire Ike Perlmutter, Palm Beach physician Bruce Moskowitz and lawyer Marc Sherman, all Mar-a-Lago members who teamed to influence personnel decisions and to shape policy at VA after Trump became president.
October 26: U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie doesn’t want any sunlight on his agency’s “shadow rulers.” By blowing off a recent congressional document request, Wilkie is blocking the public from determining whether a secretive trio of outsiders is calling the shots at the VA.
Wilkie was just confirmed by the Senate in late July. His handling of the data request from the House Veterans Affairs Committee raises serious questions about his judgment so early in his tenure. After the scandal involving clinic wait times, public faith in the VA is lagging.
Yet Wilkie’s stunning refusal last month to turn over the documents undermines trust even further, creating the perception that his priority isn’t veterans but protecting the three outsiders, all of whom belong to President Donald Trump’s glitzy Mar-a-Lago club.
November 9: New VA Secretary Robert Wilkie On Department's Recent Instability
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