Democracy Forward with  VoteVets filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) seeking records detailing the extent to which senior VA officials coordinated with the Trump White House and outside groups to use VA Secretary David Shulkin’s travel scandal as an excuse to replace him because he opposes privatizing the VA health system.

The request follows reports of infighting and chaos at the Department. Leaked emails show that White House Senior Advisor on Veterans Affairs Jake Lenenkugel and the VA’s Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs John Ullyot plotted to use the recent controversy surrounding VA Secretary David Shulkin’s travel to replace him with a Secretary who supports privatization.

Privatizing the VA health care system is a key objective of groups like the Koch-backed organization “Concerned Veterans of America,” but Shulkin has said he opposes privatization.

Robin Thurston

Managing Senior Counsel

Litigating challenges to unlawful, corrupt policymaking and holding agencies accountable.

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Ben Seel


Focusing on justice, national security, immigration, and health care issues.

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