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Thu Aug 22, 2019, 05:28 PM

'Just Ridiculous': Trump's Mar-a-Lago Cronies Meddled in Veterans Affairs as Employees Seethed



August 22, 2019 12:57PM ET
‘Just Ridiculous’: Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Cronies Meddled in Veterans Affairs as Employees Seethed
Internal emails reveal how an inexperienced trio of Trump’s cronies worked to make big changes to the health care provider for 9 million veterans
By Andy Kroll


WASHINGTON — They were called the “Mar-a-Lago Crowd” by people inside the government. A damning exposé dubbed them the “shadow rulers of the VA.”

In the early days of the Trump administration, a trio of businessmen — one of whom was a member of the president’s private Mar-a-Lago club — worked behind the scenes to shape policy at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the $200-billion federal agency that provides healthcare to nearly 9 million vets. As ProPublica and other news organizations documented, Marvel Entertainment Chairman Ike Perlmutter, a doctor in West Palm Beach named Bruce Moskowitz, and a D.C. lawyer named Marc Sherman formed a triumvirate of outside advisers, vetting VA personnel decisions, corresponding with the agency’s leader, and proposing their own ideas for reforming the VA.

Despite having no government experience among them, the Mar-a-Lago Crowd exerted unprecedented clout inside the VA. “The Mar-a-Lago Crowd spoke with VA officials daily,” ProPublica reported, “reviewing all manner of policy and personnel decisions.” On the subject of preventing veteran suicides — an issue of paramount importance with an average of 20 such suicides a day — one anonymous VA official said of the Mar-a-Lago Crowd, “Everything needs to be run by them. They view themselves as making the decisions.”

Now, internal emails obtained by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) reveal a new facet of the Mar-a-Lago Crowd saga: the frustration and anger felt by government employees at having to deal with Trump cronies meddling in the agency’s work. (Perlmutter, Moskowitz, and Sherman did not respond to requests for comment. In response to questions from Sen. Elizabeth Warren about their unofficial roles, they said they “never profited, nor sought to profit” from their “volunteered” work with the VA.)

In a November 2017 email exchange, a senior official and medical doctor fumes about having to respond to questions from someone described as “POTUS friend/doctor” — an apparent reference to Moskowitz. The VA official, Dr. Ashwini Zenooz, writes: “I’d be happy to respond to this but these questions are just ridiculous. They don’t make sense and there is basic [sic] lack of understanding” about relevant issues. “I’m just baffled,” she goes on to write. (According to LinkedIn, Zenooz no longer works at the VA.)

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https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/just-ridiculous-trumps-mar-a-lago-cronies-meddled-in-veterans-affairs-as-employees-seethed-875119/?fbclid=IwAR15BQNKhq4ewJtDav_aCJ8kfbVvEnNNf5vHCkmphkKq4OhbFSZfBCosr8M

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Reply 'Just Ridiculous': Trump's Mar-a-Lago Cronies Meddled in Veterans Affairs as Employees Seethed (Original post)
babylonsister Aug 22 OP
Retrograde Aug 22 #1
spanone Aug 22 #2
malaise Aug 22 #4
spanone Aug 22 #6
Liberal In Texas Aug 22 #3
dawg day Aug 22 #5
lanlady Aug 22 #7

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Thu Aug 22, 2019, 05:40 PM

1. High crime or misdemeanor

or both?

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Thu Aug 22, 2019, 05:44 PM

2. this entire administration is a criminal enterprise, including the republican congress

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Response to spanone (Reply #2)

Thu Aug 22, 2019, 06:17 PM

4. That simple

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Response to malaise (Reply #4)

Thu Aug 22, 2019, 06:54 PM

6. ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Thu Aug 22, 2019, 05:50 PM

3. The repubs are letting the rich run the government.

It's called fascism.




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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Thu Aug 22, 2019, 06:18 PM

5. I was wondering about Trump's sudden declaration that he'll force the VA to order a certain drug-

something related to ketamine? It seemed so out of line, even for him. He pays attention to nothing, not big events or projects, and yet he suddenly decides the VA has to order this anti-suicide pill?

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Thu Aug 22, 2019, 07:08 PM

7. This is such a flagrant violation of Civil Service regs

I've been a contractor at lots of government agencies and there is one common thread among them: only Government employees are empowered to set Government policy. Period, end of story! And unpaid volunteers, poking their noses in Government business? I've never heard of such a thing. Were they given access to VA IT systems, VA email addresses? Even by Trumpian standards this is beyond the pale.

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