House lawmakers want to know whether Veterans Affairs officials are using employee settlement policies to dismiss problem staffers instead of punishing them and push aside whistleblowers rather than address their allegations.

“In an effort to make the disciplinary process more convenient, VA often agrees to pay out thousands of taxpayer-funded dollars both to the employee and their legal representation, as well as other benefits for the employee to simply just go away,” said House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., during a hearing Wednesday.

“I wonder what type of message VA is sending to other good employees when they allow bad employees to settle for thousands of dollars, just because it would be too expensive or embarrassing to litigate.”

In response, VA’s top lawyer said she does not see signs of abuse within the program but also acknowledged the potential for abuse.

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