As thousands of U.S. military veterans have gone without health care while waiting in line to finally be seen by a government doctor, a review of expenditures by the Veteran’s Administration shows it spent more than $20 million amassing a fancy, high-end art collection.
Worse, 1,000 vets died while waiting for care during that period.
This massive spending came as the VA moved so slowly that its appeals process became known as “the hamster wheel” and as seven out of 10 VA clinics were caught falsifying appointment books to make it seem as if they were doing the right thing.
The analysis found that of the $20 million spent on an art collection for the VA, $16 million of that amount was spent in the past few years, during the Obama administration.
“The VA bought Christmas trees priced like cars and sculptures that cost more than five-bedroom homes. Then, there’s the two sculptures — with a price tag of $670,000 — for a VA center serving veterans who are blind,” according to the investigation reported by OpenTheBooks.com’s Adam Andrzejewski in Forbes magazine.
These revelations come after earlier reports showed that even as it has been crying budget poor the VA added a whopping 39,454 new jobs to its payroll. Fewer than 11 of these new jobs were actual medical professionals. This news broke after it was discovered that 500,000 sick military vets were put on long waiting lists for care because there aren’t enough doctors in the VA system to see them in a timely manner.
Here are just a few of the art purchases outlined in the review:
- $670,000 on two sculptures for the VA’s blindness rehabilitation center
- $482,960 for a rock sculpture
- $330,775 for a piece entitled “Gradient Arc”
- $220,000 for a glass piece entitled “Harbor”
- $32,000 for 62 photographs
- $21,000 for a fake Christmas tree
- $100,000 for a glass panel piece symbolizing the branches of service
- $30,000 for a piece entitled “Canteen”
And that was just a partial list as the number of purchases go on and on. OpenTheBooks has the full list at its website.
This is far from the first time our veterans have had their budget money stolen away and wasted. Earlier this year, it was discovered that the U.S. Senate created a special visa program funded by stealing away budget dollars from the VA.
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