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Warren Questions Mar-a-Lago Members on Influence Over Dept. of Veterans Affairs

Friday, February 08, 2019

 

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren sent an oversight letter to three Mar-a-Lago club members, including Ike Perlmutter, Dr. Bruce Moskowitz, and Marc Sherman.

The letter seeks information on whether the three personally profited from their involvement in and knowledge of decision-making at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Read the Letter Here

"Although you reportedly had access to and influence over key agency decisions and decision-makers, you were reportedly not subject to any of the conflicts-of-interest and other ethics rules that apply to government employees. As a result, I am concerned that you may have had the opportunity to profit from your arrangement, including possibly by engaging in trades or other actions to enrich yourselves or other third parties using nonpublic information that you obtained from VA officials,” wrote Warren.

The senator asked that the men respond to her letter by no later than Friday, February 15, 2019.

Investigating Mar-a-Lago

Warren’s letter comes after a recent report that the three men had widespread and undue influence on VA contracting and budgeting.

According to a December 2018 report by ProPublica, the three Mar-a-Lago members were heavily involved in a "multibillion-dollar effort to overhaul electronic health records for millions of veterans," which included reviewing a confidential draft of a $10 billion government contract for the electronic records project and attempting to persuade the VA and Apple to accept Moskowitz's app to carry out the project. 

ProPublica reports show that the three men have been involved in or aware of VA decisions affecting at least four publicly traded companies, including Cerner

Previous Investigation Request

Warren and Senator Brian Schatz initially requested an investigation by the VA Inspector General and Government Accountability Office in August of 2018.

In November 2018, the GAO announced that it had accepted the senators' request for an investigation into the Mar-a-Lago trio's interference in VA decision-making, but the IG declined to open an investigation, informing the senators that it would "continue monitoring the situation."

In December 2018, following the new reports in ProPublica, Warren and Schatz reiterated their request for the VA Inspector General to investigate the matter.

 

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