CD1 Watch: Kirkpatrick details VA actions, Kwasman and Tobin call it inaction

2014-06-04T15:44:00Z 2014-07-24T13:55:26Z CD1 Watch: Kirkpatrick details VA actions, Kwasman and Tobin call it inactionBecky Pallack Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The main VA whistleblower was wrong when he told the Arizona Republic that Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick's staff never responded to a letter he sent her about problems at the Phoenix VA, Kirkpatrick's spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Whistleblower Sam Foote sent an email to Kirkpatrick in February. It was titled "Deaths at the Phoenix XA."

Here's the full statement from Kirkpatrick spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson.

“Recent news stories reported that Congresswoman Kirkpatrick’s office did not respond to Dr. Foote, but this is incorrect and it’s important to set the record straight."

"On June 4, after reviewing email archives, Kirkpatrick chief of staff Carmen Gallus produced emails confirming that she had responded to Dr. Foote and offered him a conference call with staff to discuss the Phoenix VA allegations. Immediately after responding to Foote, Kirkpatrick’s staff contacted the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and learned that the allegations were under investigation by the Inspector General."

"Kirkpatrick’s inquiry into the Phoenix allegations was noted by the Inspector General as the first from any member of Congress and it was elevated as a priority. Because of the open investigation, our office recognized that the committee was the appropriate point of contact for Dr. Foote."

"Our office is grateful to Dr. Foote for his relentless efforts to expose horrific and heartbreaking practices at the Phoenix VA. His commitment to our veterans is unquestionable. Unfortunately, there are others who have politicized the Phoenix VA issues, but now is the time to stop the politics and focus on fixing a broken system, holding people accountable and getting our veterans the care they deserve.”

(end of statement)

Those "others" she refers to are Republican candidates Adam Kwasman and Andy Tobin, who have been making comments on social media about Kirkpatrick's performance.

Tobin said on Twitter today: "Congresswoman @RepKirkpatrick was notified about #VAScandal multiple times, but decided not to address the problem."

Tobin said on Facebook yesterday: "Ann Kirkpatrick knew about the VA Scandal for months and chose to do nothing about it!"

Kwasman said on Twitter yesterday: "Transparency & accountability matters. @RepKirkpatrick should have gone public immediately upon hearing from Foote." And he previously said Kirkpatrick should resign because of her lack of response to Foote.

Stay tuned to the Daily Star Politics Blog throughout 2014 for news, updates and information about Southern Arizona politics. Follow Arizona Daily Star reporters Joe Ferguson and Becky Pallack on Twitter.

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The Arizona Daily Star's Pueblo Politics blog includes stories and related items from the Tucson and Pima County political scene written by Star reporters Becky Pallack and Joe Ferguson.

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