The Veterans Administrators is more interested in beautifying their workplaces than caring for our nations veterans.
In what is turning into the latest fight over VA spending while neglecting the needs of our nations veterans, this month Congress is questioning the overwhelmed and understaffed Department of Veterans Affairs for spending millions on frivolous artwork on its hospital campuses.
“Aggregate” by Phillip K. Smith is in the courtyard of the Mental Health Center. The $1,290,270 price tag included $482,960 for the sculpture and $807,310 for site preparation. (Courtesy of the office of Rep. Jeff Miller)
The Washington Times reported:
It is part of a renovated $1.3 million courtyard. There is an art installation on the side of a parking garage that displays quotations by Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt in Morse code, at a cost of $285,000. It lights up (see picture below).
Altogether, VA Palo Alto Health Care System has spent at least $6.3 million on art and consulting services. The costs come to $4,190,356 at the Palo Alto Medical Center, $1,879,521 at the Monterey Health Care Center, and $280,000 in other budgeted projects.
They deem this monstrosity ‘art,’ I call it a waste of taxpayer money that belongs to our nations veterans.
There is a long history of the federal government spending millions on art at federal buildings. The GSA Art in Architecture Program oversees the commissioning of artworks for new federal buildings nationwide.
Its website says that ‘‘these artworks enhance the civic meaning of federal architecture and showcase the vibrancy of American visual arts. Together, the art and architecture of federal buildings create a lasting cultural legacy for the people of the United States.’’
The Veterans Administration has faced the largest scandal in its history over the unnecessary wait times for veterans seeking urgent care for post-traumatic stress, cancer, and other health concerns. Many veterans have died waiting for care, and from malpractice.
Veterans are dying, and they are spending MILLIONS of taxpayer funds on the ‘meaning of federal architecture,’ that money belongs to our nations veterans, not on art exhibits.
Not surprisingly, the VA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the misappropriation of funds.
Congressman Jeff Miller (R-FL), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs’, speaking on the House floor highlighting excessive and wasteful spending at VA facilities. (October 1, 2015)