The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) will not comply with a subpoena from the Veterans Affairs Department inspector general for its records on VA abuses, according to the organization.
The VA IG’s May 30 subpoena is demanding all the records POGO has from current or former VA employees and veterans – which POGO said would expose whistle blowers who came forward to report the abuses in the first place.
The VA has become embroiled in allegations that employees falsified wait lists and made veterans wait months for needed care, sparking IG investigations, congressional hearings and the resignation of former secretary Eric Shinseki.
In a letter sent to the IG June 9, POGO said the IG’s subpoena infringes on POGO’s constitutional “freedom of speech, freedom of press, and freedom of association rights as they relate to all whistle blowers and sources.” Many of the whistle blowers feared retaliation if they were revealed, according to the letter.
The inspector general’s demand is in direct opposition to good government reform, according to POGO executive director Danielle Brian.
“Our mission as a public interest watchdog would be severely damaged if we violated the trust of our sources. We have faced these kinds of threats before and have never wavered. We will not violate the trust whistle blowers have placed in us by revealing their identities to anyone,” Brian said.