Washington D.C. – During a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) called for accountability in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Specifically, his frustration with the ongoing criminal investigations into the Clarksburg and Beckley VA Medical Centers.
Below is a timeline of Senator Manchin’s efforts to get answers for these families.
On Thursday, July 5, 2018 Senator Manchin’s office was notified by the VA Inspector General that at least nine in-patients Veterans at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center had been diagnosed with significant hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) of unclear cause over the past 9 months, and that they had opened a medical and criminal investigation into the matter.
On Wednesday, July 10th, 2018 Senator Manchin sent a letter to then-Acting Secretary of the VA Peter O’Rourke expressing serious concerns about the unexplained episodes of hypoglycemia at the Clarksburg VA. He also clearly stated that he expected VA leadership at every level to cooperate fully with the IG investigation.
In August, retired Army Sergeant Felix McDermott’s autopsy report was made public and revealed that the suspicious cases of hypoglycemia in 2018 were likely homicide
Senator Manchin called on IG and FBI to finish the investigation as soon as possible and met with IG Missal and Attorney General Barr.
He visited the Clarksburg VA and met with Director Snider and staff demanding answers while informing public through press conference at Clarksburg VA.
Senator Manchin’s office has been working with potential victims’ families, taking their information and getting authorization forms and then sharing that with VA OIG so they can properly communicate with these families.
He wrote a letter to his colleagues in the Senate and publicly called on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to conduct an investigation and hearings.
His staff sent RFI to OIG and FBI asking for the resources required to complete investigation within 30 days. OIG responded that they have all the resources they need.
On 23 and 24 September Senator Manchin’s staff met with VA and VA OIG for a briefing on policies and procedures that impacted the Clarksburg case.
On 25 September during Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing, he called again on SVAC to continue investigation and get to bottom of what happened.
On 25 September, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of WV, Bill Powell, asked Senator Manchin to delay any Senate investigation until the criminal investigation is complete so as not to interfere with the ongoing investigation.