Cal National Guard Demands Return of 10,000 Enlistment Bonuses
“About 10,000 California Army National Guard members have been ordered to return enlistment bonuses of $15,000 or more they accepted from military recruiters that committed fraud at the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Because the U.S. military had the Selective Service draft during the unpopular Vietnam War, the Army could pay below poverty level wages and still feed infantry units with huge numbers of teenage boys. The effort to enforce the Selective Service Registration law was abandoned in 1986 in favor of an all-volunteer Armed Forces.
To support deployments at the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, a temporary Recruiting Assistance Program was instituted in 2005 to offer bigger bonuses for to encourage enlistment and re-enlistments for difficult to fill specialties including noncommissioned officers, intelligence experts, and civil affairs administrators.
National Guard also started paying recruiting assistants (RAs) cash bonuses of up to $2,000 for qualifying RAP enlistments. The RAs received the first $1,000 when the qualifying recruit enlisted and the balance when the soldier shipped off for training.
Obama Administration audits in 2010 determined there was a problem with RAP “improper payments.” A task force formed with investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Major Fraud Section, Army Criminal Investigative Command, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Services found thousands of bonuses and student loan payments were extended for Guard enlistees that did not qualify for RAP cash.
Nearly 10,000 California National Guard soldiers, many veterans of multiple combat tours, have now been ordered to repay their re-enlistment bonuses and interest charges. As a sign of the military collector aggressiveness, there are increasing reports of California National Guard soldiers being hit with wage garnishments and tax liens.”
….Continue reading @ Breitbart
– As usual the part-time California Governor Jerry Brown is missing in action. Why doesn’t he step up for the Vets instead of hiding to ignore the issue? Obama as well as Hillary are always talking about supporting our troops, yet when it’s necessary, they never step up. /CJ
Thousands of California soldiers forced to repay enlistment bonuses a decade after going to war
– LA Times
“Short of troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago, the California National Guard enticed thousands of soldiers with bonuses of $15,000 or more to reenlist and go to war.
Now the Pentagon is demanding the money back.
Nearly 10,000 soldiers, many of whom served multiple combat tours, have been ordered to repay large enlistment bonuses — and slapped with interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens if they refuse — after audits revealed widespread overpayments by the California Guard at the height of the wars last decade.
Investigations have determined that lack of oversight allowed for widespread fraud and mismanagement by California Guard officials under pressure to meet enlistment targets.
But soldiers say the military is reneging on 10-year-old agreements and imposing severe financial hardship on veterans whose only mistake was to accept bonuses offered when the Pentagon needed to fill the ranks.
“These bonuses were used to keep people in,” said Christopher Van Meter, a 42-year-old former Army captain and Iraq veteran from Manteca, Calif., who says he refinanced his home mortgage to repay $25,000 in reenlistment bonuses and $21,000 in student loan repayments that the Army says he should not have received. “People like me just got screwed.”
In Iraq, Van Meter was thrown from an armored vehicle turret — and later awarded a Purple Heart for his combat injuries — after the vehicle detonated a buried roadside bomb.
Susan Haley, a Los Angeles native and former Army master sergeant who deployed to Afghanistan in 2008, said she sends the Pentagon $650 a month — a quarter of her family’s income — to pay down $20,500 in bonuses that the Guard says were given to her improperly.
“I feel totally betrayed,” said Haley, 47, who served 26 years in the Army along with her husband and oldest son, a medic who lost a leg in combat in Afghanistan.
Haley, who now lives in Kempner, Texas, worries they may have to sell their house to repay the bonuses. “They’ll get their money, but I want those years back,” she said, referring to her six-year reenlistment.”
….Continue reading more @ LA Times
POTUS Now In L.A For ‘Kimmel’ & Last Fundraisers
“Before hitting top bundler Jeffrey Katzenberg and wife Marilyn’s home this evening for a $100,000 top ticket cash grab for the Hillary Victory Fund, the President’s first stop in Tinseltown is for a return visit to Jimmy Kimmel Live! Then it’s over to the ex-DreamWorks Animation boss’ where the old donor band will be getting back together for one last blowout for POTUS before Obama flies out of town tomorrow just before 1 PM. Before leaving L.A., Obama will be over at American Horror Story co-creator Ryan Murphy’s place for a $33,000 a ticket roundtable to raise money for the Democrats’ Senatorial candidates.
Earlier today and yesterday Obama was in San Diego for another round of election fundraisers and a round of golf.
So, if you haven’t been caught in Obamageddon over the past 8-years and the President’s nearly 30 visits to the Hollywood ATM, you have one last chance – or not.”
….Continue reading more @ Deadline.com
Obama Has Cut VA Health Care Funding Every Year of his presidency – Not Exactly True | What & How They Spend It On Is What’s Important and Cuts are Being Made
– Politifact | 2015
“On Face the Nation, Vanden Heuvel said, regarding the VA health care allegations, that “Congress has cut funding, has slashed funding, for veterans’ benefits over these last years.”
That’s incorrect, as vanden Heuvel acknowledged to PunditFact. VA health care and “veterans’ benefits” aren’t the same thing, and the pot of money that paid for VA health care has gone up every year. No reasonable definition of “cut” — much less “slash” — fits the data, experts told us.
We’re rating the claim she made on national television, and we rate it False.
What vanden Heuvel meant to refer to — based on what she told us and the context of her comments — was spending for the VA health system. Health system spending is considered “discretionary” spending and under the purview of Congress.
But Congress hasn’t “cut” or “slashed funding to the VA health care system. This VA budget summary sheet shows that, far from being “slashed,” discretionary spending on the VA has risen each year over the last decade. In fact, on Obama’s watch, the VA’s discretionary budget has risen from $47.8 billion in 2009 to $63.4 in 2014 — a one-third increase over five years.
“We aren’t able to say what, objectively, would be aproper level of departmental funding — that’s a matter about which reasonable people can disagree. However, Congress has consistently agreed to to spend less money on the VA than Obama had requested. Since 2010, by our calculations, Congress has agreed to fund about $2 billion a year less, on average, in discretionary spending than Obama had sought. That’s a few percentage points on the president’s proposed budget every year.”
….More in excruciating but necessary detail @ Politifact.com
Yet There Are Cuts Being Made – 1.4 billion
– VAntagePoint – Dept of Veterans Affairs
“Last week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee marked up the 2016 Veterans Affairs funding bill, and slashed more than $1.4 billion from the president’s requested budget for America’s Veterans. Today, VA Secretary Bob McDonald appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee to discuss that budget proposal.
While some may argue this is not a drastic move, every cut and rescission of funds has real-world implications for Veterans across the country. Here are three ways these proposed congressional cuts will adversely affect the quality of care and services provided to Veterans next year if they are not reversed:”
….Details here @ Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs