Published Feb. 14, 2018
Craig Holman, an ethics specialist with Public Citizen, said Shulkin didn't seek ethics clearance to accept the tickets until months later, when a Washington Post story about the trip was imminent.
WASHINGTON – Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin improperly accepted Wimbledon tickets and airfare for his wife during a European trip last summer that cost taxpayers more than $122,000, according to a VA inspector general report released Wednesday.
His chief of staff, Viveca Wright Simpson, made false representations to a VA ethics lawyer and altered an official email to secure approval for taxpayer funding of Shulkin’s wife’s flights, which cost more than $4,000, the VA inspector general found.
Shulkin told ethics officials the tennis tickets were provided by a personal friend, Victoria Gosling, an adviser for the Invictus Games, a sporting event for wounded warriors. The inspector general concluded that was not the case.
The inspector general found the excursion led to a “misuse of VA resources.” Shulkin and his wife, Merle Bari, took the trip with three other VA executives and a six-member security detail ostensibly to attend meetings in Denmark and a summit on veterans’ issues in London.
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