WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today met with Veterans Affairs Secretary Nominee Robert McDonald and requested that, if confirmed, he urgently join him in visiting Illinois’ five VA hospitals. Senator Kirk detailed his requests of McDonald in a letter, which can be seen below.
“Robert McDonald has both the military and private sector leadership experience needed to be a change agent in the big and corrupt VA bureaucracy,” Senator Kirk said. “McDonald assured me that he has been that change agent before, tackling the culture of tenured ‘salary men’ in the P&G Japanese division and I am confident after our meeting that I will vote for his confirmation, and that he and I can be partners in ending a similar culture of corruption at the VA.”
Also during their meeting, Senator Kirk repeated his call for Hines VA Director Joan Ricard, who has overseen a culture of corruption and abuse at the Hines VA for two years, to step down. Hines maintains the highest percentage of appointments scheduled over thirty days among Illinois VA hospitals, and has been faced with numerous allegations from whistleblowers over the past few months of secret wait lists and manipulated wait times by officials within the hospital.