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IAVA, POGO Launch Campaign to Protect VA Whistleblowers

Washington, DC – As concerns of mismanagement and deception within the Department of Veterans Affairs mount, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) announced today they are joining together to protect VA staff who come forward with information about agency wrongdoing.

As part of the effort, the organizations have launched a secure website, www.VAOversight.org, where VA employees can get in touch with POGO and IAVA. The effort combines IAVA’s deep knowledge of the VA system with POGO’s experience working with whistleblowers to expose federal wrongdoing.

“It takes a lot of courage to step forward and put one’s career at risk,” said POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian. “Whistleblowers shouldn’t have to go it alone. We can help whistleblowers hold the VA accountable, and keep the focus on solutions rather than attempts to hunt down those who voiced concerns.”

The organizations made their announcement ahead of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki’s testimony this morning before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee about the growing problems within the VA health care system.

“IAVA members are outraged, as new reports of mismanagement and cooking the books seem to arise daily,” said IAVA Chief Policy Officer Tom Tarantino, who is attending today’s Senate hearing along with IAVA veterans supporters. “Secretary Shinseki has finally started to emerge publicly and address these allegations, but short-term, reactive measures will not eradicate the more pervasive problems that are causing veterans to lose faith in the system. VA has a long way to go to earn back the trust and confidence of the millions of veterans shaken by this growing controversy.”

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the nation’s first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 270,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating – four-stars – from Charity Navigator, America’s largest charity evaluator.

Founded in 1981, POGO is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. For more information, go to www.pogo.org.

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Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.