PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman, Rep. Jeff Miller, told Talk Radio 1210 WPHT midday host Dom Giordano that the hearings on the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs office are a “tangled web” and that he and his colleagues on both sides of the aisle are trying to get to the bottom of it. Much of his attention has been focusing on the actions of Diana Rubens, the director of the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs benefits office, after she apparently used a relocation service to buy her Washington, D.C home when it did not sell and to move her to Philadelphia.
“What this shows is really not only a breakdown within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), but the federal government across the board. This is not just a program that’s at the VA, many many senior executives are offered the ability to use this relocation service. Any time you try to ask the question everybody is loaded and ready to try and shift the focus to something else.”
Miller says that about $308,000 was spent on moving Rubens 140 miles down the road and that she “basically signed a statement said that she wouldn’t take this job that everybody knew that she wanted unless she was paid this money.”
“She has tried to position herself over the years to where she could retire at the Philadelphia regional office and if that’s the case, you weren’t made to go there. That’s what I kept trying to ask her, ‘Were you directed by the VA to go there or was this a choice?’ and she never would answer one way or the other, because she knows that regardless of which way she steps, it causes her problems.”
He has not been receiving much assistance from the people at the VA, and it has forced them to change their procedure by having them answer questions under oath. Miller jokes that “it’s almost as if all senior executives at VA take a class in deflection, because that’s exactly what they do. They will never answer questions directly.”
His office has even issued a subpoena for the third time in the department’s history for records on Equal Employment Opportunity complaints and the Merit Service Protection Board. While his office had been informed that the records were ready to be picked up months ago, upon arrival, his employees found otherwise, and that began what he refers to as a “charade” where the VA office does not know where the records are held.