Former four-star Army General Eric Shinseki, Obama’s Secretary of Veteran Affairs, has much to worry about these days. However, you will be comforted to know his mortgage, grocery bills, medical care, personal finances and retirement, much like US veterans disability claims resolution, is low on his list of day to day concerns.
Not surprising since the Department of Veteran Affairs Secretary enjoys a bountiful outside income and net worth of $6 million government connected dollars. Semper Pecuniam!
In 2009, with unanimous Congressional approval, Shinseki, a model of what slithers through the doors at Washington’s Defense establishment, assumed control of the helm of the US Department of Veterans Affairs. At that time, this former Army General turned Honeywell Director turned Obama Cabinet Secretary, pledged to move quickly to fix gaps in veteran healthcare and re-open benefits to hundreds of thousands of deprived middle-income veterans waiting in line.
Today, over five years later, the Department of Veterans Affairs is plagued by the costs of a powerful and unproductive federal employee union, malicious departmental policy changes, hundreds of thousands of backlogged veterans benefit claims, historical rates of veteran suicide and massive fraud, waste and abuse.
There is no disputing that Eric Shinseki was a wise pick politically for the Department of Veterans Affairs; Boy Scout, Class president, West Point graduate, decorated war hero, advanced degrees from Duke and the National Defense University and a former Clinton Army Chief of Staff. Shinseki is more qualified than President Obama to get things on track. However, I would ask, “On track for whom?”
Shinseki has always been good at rising through the ranks, so to speak. From 2009 to 2012 (the last year data is available) Secretary Shinseki rose from his rank of 35th richest Obama Cabinet Appointee to his current position of thirteenth wealthiest Obama cabinet member. Not bad for a guy who is paid $199,000 US tax dollars per year.
A cursory examination of Secretary Shinseki’s personal finances is available here.
According to Secretary Shinseki’s financial disclosure forms, the VA Secretary is doing very well and so is his outside income. When we combine his Honeywell deferred compensation account (valued at $1 million), his investments in Honeywell International (valued at $1.25 Million) and his income from residential rental property (up to $1 Million), Shinseki appears to be well taken care of for a former military man.
Are you wondering what would motivate a retired General and distinguished member of Honeywell International’s Board of Directors—a multi-billion dollar government defense contractor—to step down, if only momentarily, to accept a position running the Obama Department of Veterans Affairs?
Oh, that would be a thing called deferred income, America. A nice gimmick government legislated to assuage legitimate concerns over obvious illegal conflicts of interest government types would rather the American public blindly ignore.
Secretary Shinseki not only exemplifies the arrogance that plagues the Department of Veterans Affairs, but his dereliction of duty as Secretary is encouraging its spread. Moreover, I also suppose a growing $6 million dollar net worth, and future opportunities to influence government contracting through Washington’s revolving doors, mean more to Shinseki then the health of those he once served with and commanded.
Did I mention he was an Obama campaign supporter and also contributed to President Obama’s 2009 Inauguration Party?
Given Shinseki’s abysmal stewarding of the Veterans Administration and his recent December 2013 decision to make VA claims processing more difficult for veterans, I am left to assume there is more on Shinseki’s mind then veterans and Veterans Affairs.
Veterans Affairs answers to two men and two men only (President Obama and Eric Shinseki), and both are failing our veterans. Clearly, neither actually cares. They just stick their heads in the sand. I am beginning to wonder about the rest of America as well, and I can only imagine what will become of Americas future voluntary fighting force.
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