VA Chief Accused Of Seeking Dirt On Woman Who Alleged Assault At VA Hospital
House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano (D-CA) filed an appeal with the VA’s inspector general on Friday alleging that VA Secretary Robert Wilkie tried to dig up dirt on one of Takano’s aides after she reported being sexually assaulted at a VA hospital, according to The Washington Post.
Takano filed the appeal after a senior VA official informed him that Wilkie attempted to discredit the allegations of the lawmaker’s senior policy adviser, Andrea Goldstein.
TPM reported that three sources told the newspaper that “Wilkie reportedly began inquiring with military officials regarding Goldstein’s past last fall when she said that a man groped and propositioned her in the main lobby of the VA Medical Center in Washington. Her case was closed by authorities in January.”
Information shared with the committee indicated that Wilkie characterized Goldstein as a “serial sexual assault/harassment complainant in the Navy who made baseless allegations for example when she was not satisfied with a fitness evaluation” as he discussed her case with his staff.
Wilkie denied looking into Goldstein’s past, telling The Post through VA assistant secretary for public affairs James Hutton:“These allegations are false. Period. Secretary Wilkie did not and never would do anything of this sort.”
“VA takes all allegations of sexual assault seriously, which is why the department immediately reported Ms. Goldstein’s allegations to VA’s independent inspector general as well as the deputy attorney general,” Hutton continued.
Meanwhile, the House committee “is considering all investigative options to determine to what extent VA leaders attempted to tarnish a staff member’s character and spread false information about her past in retaliation for her reporting of a sexual assault at the D.C. VA Medical Center,” Takano spokeswoman, Jenni Geurink, said in a statement.