VA Nominee Hearing Delayed After 'Serious Allegations' Arise

Kerry Dooley Young

April 24, 2018

WASHINGTON — US senators have put on hold a planned April 25 hearing on the nomination of Rear Admiral Ronny L. Jackson, MD, to be secretary of the US Department of Veterans Affairs and have issued a bipartisan call for documentation and communication with federal agencies regarding troubling concerns about alleged past incidents.

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, the panel's ranking Democrat, on Tuesday issued a joint statement postponing the hearing over their concerns about "serious allegations" related to the nominee.

They also released a copy of a letter sent to President Donald J. Trump.

Isakson and Tester did not detail the alleged conduct that raised concerns about Jackson in their statement or letter. But they made public their extensive call for review of Jackson's interactions with federal watchdogs. The senators demanded "any and all" communication between the Department of Defense, including the Offices of the Inspector General for each branch of the service and the White House military office, regarding allegations or incidents involving Jackson from 2006 to the present.

"We further request any and all allegations and documents, including those developed during the course of an investigation, that are in the custody of the White House Military Office, the White House Medical Unit, or any office in the Executive Office of the President that were never communicated to the Department of Defense or Offices of Inspector General," Isakson and Tester wrote.

There has been speculation for days that the nomination could be derailed. There are multiple media reports that the committee is looking into claims that Jackson oversaw a hostile work environment as the White House physician and that he permitted the overprescribing of drugs.

Trump ousted former VA Secretary David Shulkin last month after reports came out about questionable travel to Europe on the taxpayer's dime and his reportedly accepting free tickets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

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