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HVAC Webpage To Track How VA Stonewalls the Press

Mar 24, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, Chairman Jeff Miller launched VA Honesty Project, a new web component of Veterans.House.Gov designed to highlight the Department of Veterans Affairs’ lack of transparency with the press, and by extension the public. View the page here.

Because the Department of Veterans Affairs is a taxpayer funded organization, it has a responsibility to fully explain itself to the press and the public. Unfortunately, in many cases, VA is failing in this responsibility, as department officials – including 54 full-time public affairs employees – routinely ignore media inquiries.

VA Honesty Project documents nearly 70 recent instances in which VA has failed to respond to reporters’ requests for information or refused to answer specific questions. The department’s apparent disregard for the press has become an object of reporters’ scorn, leading some to openly accuse VA of “thumbing their nose at us” and others to write entire articles focusing on VA’s stonewalling tactics. VA Honesty Project will be continually updated with new examples of VA refusing to respond to the press as they arise.

Following the launch of VA Honesty Project, Chairman Miller issued the following statement.

“With 54 full-time public affairs employees, VA’s media avoidance strategy can’t be anything other than intentional. What’s worse, the tactic leaves the impression that department leaders think the same taxpayers who fund the department don’t deserve an explanation of VA’s conduct. VA Honesty Project is dedicated to showing America’s veterans, American taxpayers and department leaders how VA’s media avoidance strategy is doing the public an extreme disservice while damaging VA’s reputation in the process. By keeping a running record of VA’s attempts to stonewall the press, we hope to convince the department to put a renewed focus on being responsive and transparent with the media so America’s veterans and taxpayers can get the answers they deserve.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs