Biden Administration Ignores Subpoena Regarding VA Allegations of Sexual Harassment and Misconduct
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mike Bost (R-Ill.), provided the following update on the Committee’s investigation into disturbing allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Resolution Management, Diversity, and Inclusion (ORMDI). ORMDI is the office charged with preventing sexual harassment and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within VA.
In January, the Committee voted 22 – 1 to subpoena numerous documents from VA following their failure to address allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct properly and adequately. To date, the Biden administration has failed to fully comply with the congressional subpoena. Last week, the Committee received a copy of VA’s internal investigation conducted by the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection. The report was damning and substantiated many of the serious allegations the Committee uncovered, however, it fails to fully capture the scope of material the Committee requested.
“Congress has a constitutional responsibility to find out who knew what, when they knew it, and why they didn’t stop it as it relates to these allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct. As Chairman of this Committee, I have a responsibility to every single person who walks through VA’s doors to do what I can to ensure that they are entering into a safe environment, free from any form of harassment,” said Chairman Bost. “It is absolutely appalling that the Biden administration has ignored our lawful subpoena, but sadly, not surprising. We will continue to seek the truth, no matter how long it takes, to ensure this alleged harassment never happens again and that those at fault are held accountable for the veterans they serve.”
Next week, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will hold an oversight hearing on its investigation and will examine when senior Department leaders, not only within ORMDI, but within the entire Department, became aware of these misconduct allegations, how they responded, and why ORMDI’s culture of negligence and harassment went on uninterrupted for so long.
In September, a VA ORMDI whistleblower used the Committee’s whistleblower portal to submit disturbing allegations of ORMDI senior leadership committing sexual harassment and misconduct. A second VA ORMDI whistleblower informed the Committee that they received numerous unwanted sexually suggestive and aggressive messages from multiple VA employees, including their senior manager, ORMDI Chief of Staff Archie Davis, over the course of a year. When the whistleblower did not consent to engage sexually with Mr. Davis, Mr. Davis’s attitude towards the whistleblower allegedly changed and the Chief of Staff began to retaliate and bad mouth the whistleblower to ORMDI leadership. As such, Chairman Bost made public the Committee’s investigation into the VA ORMDI office, and after seven weeks of no action, on the same day the investigation was made public, the Department acted against the alleged individuals. The next day, the Biden administration Assistant Secretary responsible for ORMDI, Ms. Gina Grosso, announced that she would be leaving the Department. Since the Committee’s investigation was made public, several other whistleblowers have approached the Committee with troubling allegations about ORMDI and its leadership. In late December, while under investigation and a main suspect in the allegations, Harvey Johnson, VA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for ORMDI, announced he would be retiring.
Due to VA’s failure to hold its leaders accountable, the Committee continues to conduct its own investigation to ensure all VA leaders are held fully accountable and to determine if legislative action must be taken to ensure employees at VA are safe from harassment.
To read more about the Committee’s investigation into VA’s ORMDI office, click here.