In May and October 2017, the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) received several complaints alleging mismanagement and misuse of the VA Executive Protection Division. The complainants alleged ineffective procedures, scheduling and overtime abuses, pay administration issues, time card fraud, and various policy violations. They also alleged the misuse of the Executive Protection Division by former VA Secretary David Shulkin.
The OIG substantiated that VA mismanaged the Executive Protection Division from at least 2015. The OIG found that there were no published operational policies or procedures on critical executive protection functions and a lack of adequate threat assessments. The OIG also identified several potential security vulnerabilities caused by members of the Executive Protection Division, as well as abuses by agents who claimed to be performing official duties when they were not.
Secretary Shulkin relied on advice from the Office of Operations, Security, and Preparedness on how and when to use protection services. The OIG concluded that it was within Secretary Shulkin’s discretion to use the Executive Protection Division as he did. However, the OIG also found that government resources (vehicle and official time) were used on a few occasions to provide transportation to the Secretary’s spouse and that Secretary Shulkin violated ethical regulations by permitting his VA employee driver to use a personal vehicle and personal time to provide transportation services to the Secretary’s wife.
VA concurred with the OIG's 12 recommendations, including that VA publishes policies to regulate essential functions of the Executive Protection Division, develops adequate threat assessments, institutes procedures to report and address security lapses, holds agents accountable for contributing to security lapses, makes certain agents and supervisors are held accountable for any overtime and travel reimbursement abuses, and provides the principal under protection a thorough orientation to the appropriate uses of the division’s services.