The Military Times reports that officials at the US Government department for Veterans Affairs are declining to give members of Congress documents related to accusations that outside businessmen are unduly influencing department policy, citing legal ongoing disputes over the issue.
Those businessmen include Ike Perlmutter, Chair of Marvel Comics, major donor and close friend of Donald Trump, his Thanksgiving dining companion at Mar-a-Lago rather than members of Donald’s own family. Ike does not hold an official administration position but all three are confidants of Trump and members of Mar-a-Lago.
Tim Walz. the ranking member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee has called this “an attempt to stonewall not only a member of Congress, but the American public.”
In a statement he wrote “we have received nothing from VA except excuses… The reports of corruption and cronyism are serious and we cannot allow VA to sweep this under the rug. This issue will remain a top concern of the committee until all our questions have been answered” and is demanding the documents be turned over to the committee before the end of the month.
And now activist group Democracy Forward, with the support of another group VoteVets, has sued the Trump Administration for what they call ‘unlawfully withholding records detailing the full extent of the influence members of the President’s private golf club have in shaping decisions that affect millions of America’s veterans’.
They claim that ‘earlier reporting based on records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) revealed that President Trump’s ‘Mar-a-Lago Council’—a group composed of Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter, Palm Beach concierge doctor Bruce Moskowitz, and Marc Sherman, a private lawyer—has wielded unprecedented influence over senior officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and has regularly weighed in on decisions affecting millions of America’s veterans, such as the push to privatize veterans’ health services. In an effort to learn more about the conduct of the Mar-a-Lago Council, and the extent of their influence over veterans policy, Democracy Forward requested records from the VA. The VA violated federal law in failing to disclose the requested records.’
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