A senior Veterans Affairs Department official denied allegations last Tuesday that the agency committed fraud by making billions of dollars in purchases outside the federal rules or by making it appear to Congress like it was meeting its veteran-owned small business contracting mission.
Thomas J. Leney, executive director of the VA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, conceded that the agency spent more than $3 billion in purchases outside the normal contracting process, but insisted that in most cases the buys were made to meet the needs of veteran patients.
He was responding to questioning from Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colorado, who described the agency’s purchases, failure to follow acquisition law and fudging the numbers on small business contracts as fraud.
“I am not prepared to say that this is an issue of fraud,” Leney replied. “This is an issue of improper accounting.”
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