Washington lawyer appointed VA watchdog

The U.S. Senate this week confirmed Washington, D.C. lawyer Michael Missal as the Inspector General of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

This is the first time the VA has permanently filled the position in 28 months, according to a report from the Military Times. The decision also ends a drawn-out process to confirm Mr. Missal, which began last October when he was initially nominated by President Barack Obama. The hold up was due largely to unrelated issues with the VA, according to the report.

Mr. Missal takes the top watchdog position following years of fraud and abuse in the VA, which is still struggling to address wait time and access problems, according to the report. However, Mr. Missal may be just the man for the job. His legal practice focuses on government enforcement, corporate governance and internal investigations — of which he has conducted more than two dozen across a variety of sectors, from government contracts to the funeral service industry.

"The key to true reform at the VA is critical oversight from both the Inspector General and Congress," Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) said in a statement. "As chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, I look forward to working with Mr. Missal as we root out the problems and hold bad actors at the VA accountable. With veterans still waiting too long to receive their care and benefits, now is the time for strong oversight and a cultural change at the VA."

 

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