The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General (VAOIG) has launched an investigation into whether Charmain Bogue, Executive Director of the Veterans Benefits Administration’s Education Service, “violated applicable conflict of interest laws or regulations concerning her official duties and her spouse’s business interests.”
Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) was made aware of the investigation by VA Inspector General Michael Missal in a May letter, a copy of which was recently released and can be viewed here.
Here’s the background:
- Last November NLPC raised questions about an apparent covert lobbying effort to pressure the Veterans Administration (VA) to limit veterans’ ability to use their GI Bill benefits at certain colleges. Digging a bit deeper, NLPC found that an activist group, Veterans Education for Success (VES), was driving the effort by paying Barrett Bogue, the husband of a key VA official, Charmain Bogue, while they lobbied her. (See “Are For-Profit College ‘Critics’ Up to Their Old Tricks?”)
- The Bogues may have known their arrangement was improper because our investigators then determined that Charmain Bogue’s federal disclosure forms never disclosed that her husband, Barrett Bogue, was being paid to influence her department. (See “VA Official Charmain Bogue Did Not Disclose Links to Outside Group”)
- Adding insult to injury, VES – Barrett Bogue’s employer – was equally opaque. VES’ tax forms declined to identify compensation to Mr. Bogue, who was paid to influence the department that his wife was running. (See “On Tax Return, Group Did Not Disclose Payments to Husband of VA Official”)
Senator Grassley apparently took note. In April, he sent letters to the VA and SEC, partially based on NLPC’s late 2020 investigation. (See “Grassley Pursues Possible Links Between Veterans Administration and Short Sellers”)
Now nine months after NLPC’s initial research and four months after Senator Grassley’s questions, several agencies have responded, but not the VA. It needs to explain why it has apparently taken no action on this matter.