The Department of Veterans Affairs faced tough questions Thursday from a House subcommittee after an internal audit found nearly 1,400 contracts intended for veteran-owned businesses were awarded to ineligible companies.
Federal Times reports the contracts are supposed to be set aside for veteran-owned small businesses and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. However, companies can self-identify and many falsely identified themselves as veteran-owned.
Belinda Finn, VA assistant inspector general for audits and evaluations, told the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee oversight panel 76 percent of the businesses reviewed were ineligible for VA contracts, potentially valuing $2.5 billion over the next five years.
“I haven’t heard anything this bad since I’ve been here,” said Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.). “I think if the American people really paid attention, which they’re not today because they’re focused on something entirely different, they’d blow this whole program up and start from scratch again. It’s really that bad.”
The Committee learned there are 91 pending criminal investigations of businesses that may have fraudulently received VA contracts.