The FBI confirmed on Wednesday the existence of an ongoing investigation into the Veteran's Affairs scandal that saw the head of the government department resign last week amid an uproar over extended patient backlogs.
FBI director James Corney announced the agency's Phoenix field office opened a criminal investigation into the VA scandal, according to CBS Evening News. Earlier Wednesday, a local CNN affiliate reported the FBI joined the ongoing probe opened by the VA inspector general's office, which was also receiving help from the Justice Department. "The Justice Department asked the FBI to help review key documents," WSDU-6 reported. This cooperation marked the first indication of FBI involvement in the VA case. Typically the FBI waits for a finished inspector general report before opening its own investigation.
The results of an audit released on Wednesday revealed more than 57,000 veterans have waited at least 90 days for an appointment, among other myriad problems from the top down. Patients have had to unduly wait for care, and supervisors who have acted as whistleblowers to the problems have been punished for dissension. The VA scandal already cost Secretary General Eric Shineski his job. It's unclear who would take the blame in a criminal investigation.