House Veteran Affairs Committee Chairman, Rep. Jeff Miller from Florida, has threatened to issue a subpoena to the Department of Veterans Affairs if they refuse to answer questions regarding its controversial spending on artwork.
On Friday, Miller sent a letter to VA secretary Robert McDonald requesting full documentation on money spent on art for its facilities over the last 9 years. Miller originally requested the information back in October but did not receive answers. According to the letter, McDonald has not only failed to provide the information but has refused to respond at all.
The letter addresses the $20 million dollars it is accused of using to purchase sculptures, paintings, and other various art installations over the past decade which was exposed by a joint investigation between Open the Books and COX Media. The investigation revealed that while the VA was spending taxpayer funds on art for its facilities it was simultaneously under scrutiny for failing to provide proper care to Veterans across the nation.
People took to Twitter to express outrage over the recent developments:
Miller noted in that letter that his own investigation committee had uncovered about $6.5 million that had gone towards room decorations in the Palo Alto VA facility alone. The Florida Rep. questioned whether or not there was more spent that had yet to be uncovered.
“Either the reported $20 million, 10-year total is incomplete, or the Palo Alto Healthcare System expenditures represent an extraordinarily large portion of VAs nationwide spending,” Miller wrote.
The Florida Rep. requested that the questions be answered by August 26th adding that “the committee will not hesitate to pursue a subpoena” if they refused to follow through.