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Chairman Bost Outlines Next Steps in Committee’s VA HR Office Investigation

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mike Bost (R-Ill.), provided the following update on the Committee’s investigation into disturbing reports of sexual harassment and misconduct within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Resolution Management, Diversity, and Inclusion (ORMDI) that were brought to the Committee’s attention in September 2023 through the Committee’s whistleblower portal. ORMDI is the office charged with preventing sexual harassment and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at 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. The Committee continues to receive thousands of pages of evidence from VA as part of the congressional subpoena. In addition to receiving the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection (OAWP) report which corroborated the allegations and made disciplinary action recommendations for the accused, the Committee also held its first oversight hearing on the investigation with VA Secretary Denis McDonough testifying before the Committee. During the hearing when asked about why his agency didn’t do anything to help these whistleblowers, Secretary McDonough stated, “The differences between me and General, Secretary, Chief of Staff Shinseki are manifold. His courage, his service to the country, his integrity, are all things I could only aspire to. I would never compare myself to Eric Shinseki, who I consider a national hero. What is the difference between these two instances? I’m a sinner. There’s no question that I’ve failed in this instance. I’m learning from that failing, and we’re taking concrete steps to address it. That’s what I think is the difference of these stories.”


Next, the Committee will move forward with the requested transcribed interviews with eight senior VA leaders to determine why it took 45 days and a personal call from Chairman Bost to the VA Secretary for VA to do anything.


“While I appreciate the Secretary’s candor during his testimony before our committee, committee members left with more questions than answers. We still don’t know who in the entire VA leadership chain-of-command knew what, when they knew it, and why they didn’t stop it. That’s a problem,” said Chairman Bost. “If standing by and doing nothing when it comes to preventing sexual harassment is the agency-wide culture at VA, then clearly we have more work to do to keep veterans and VA employees safe.”



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 immediately 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.
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