Dr. Charles W. Heckman
315 93rd Ave., S.W.
Olympia, WA 98512
An Open Letter
Honorable Senator Russell Feingold
United States Senate
Honorable Senator Feingold:
It has come to my attention that you refused veterans among your constituency the privilege of asking you any questions concerning major cuts in their health care. You justified this by stating that there is no money for veterans.
Although I am only a veteran of more than two years of combat in Vietnam without any official position in government, I can tell you exactly where you can save the government much more money than the amount needed to supply essential health care for veterans. It is difficult for me to understand why members of Congress cannot identify even more sources of savings. It has been documented repeatedly by the General Accounting Office that theft and fraud alone are responsible for the loss of more than 20 times the amount required to provide minimum acceptable health care for veterans.
Because I am a veteran, in 1998, employees of the Pacific Northwest Research Station of the United States Forest Service offered me a $20,000 bribe to withdraw from a civil service selection. After the U.S. Office of Special Counsel determined that a prohibited personnel practice had been committed by the Forest Service employees, I was offered a job at Olympia, Washington. This provided the Forest Service Station Director, Thomas Mills, with the opportunity of creating a false record of unsatisfactory performance in order to fire me just before the end of the probationary period. During this time, I had written a report showing that the Forest Service was wasting $208,000 on a junk science project. My refusal to change the report was given as the main reason for my dismissal. Since May 1999, the Forest Service has blacklisted me for all employment in the United States. The Office of Special Counsel did see to it that the persons responsible for the bribe offer were punished for interfering with a Federal civil service selection, but the felonies they committed through bribery and the attempted misappropriation of the $20,000 from Forest Service funds earmarked for equipment purchases were forgotten. One received a one-week suspension without pay, and the other received a letter of reprimand.
Altogether, these and my other disclosures revealed that the Forest Service was losing approximately $300,000 in public funds through theft and fraud by its own employees with the blessings of the station director, who has since been promoted to assistant director of operations in Washington, D.C. In addition to this money, which the Forest Service employees are apparently permitted to steal with impunity, the Federal Government is wasting about $179,000,000 annually on the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), which performs none of its statutory duties. Large amounts of its budget go to state employment services to provide special services to veterans. These services are not available, and many state personnel do not even know that the services they are supposed to be providing. The money is used to pay for normal operations that should be paid for by the state. To abolish VETS would cost the veterans nothing and would release $179,000,000 annually for health care.
Similarly, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs of the Department of Labor is a useless organization, which has never undertaken any of its statutory duties. This organization has an annual budget that must be at least equivalent to that of VETS. To abolish this agency would release even more money for veterans’ health care.
Amendment VII of the United States Constitution guarantees every American the right to trial by jury in civil disputes. The Merit System Protection Board (MSPB) has been established solely to rob veterans and “whistleblowers” of their constitutional right to trial by jury. It is a kangaroo court with phony “judges,” which has never decided any dispute in favor of a veteran and has almost never provided relief to a whistleblower. The only recourse against the biased decisions of this kangaroo court is an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which has a solid record of protecting crime and other wrongdoing committed by employees of Federal agencies. It has never ruled in favor of a veteran and out of 71 appeals filed by whistleblowers, it has decided 71 in favor of the agency and 0 in favor of the whistleblower. By abolishing the MSPB and according whistleclowers and veterans their constitutional right to trial by jury in a United States District Court, Congress would save several hundred million dollars more to use for veterans’ health care.
Finally, enforcement of the law requiring colleges and universities with Federal contracts to provide employment opportunities for veterans would require cutting off public funding to almost all colleges and universities in the country, which have been violating the civil rights of anyone who served the country in uniform for decades. This would save the taxpayers an estimated $100,000,000,000 annually in research grants alone. To get the money back, the colleges and universities would be required to hire Vietnam war veterans and veterans of subsequent wars, reducing the disgraceful homelessness that veteran have been forced to endure as a result of the employment discrimination the Department of Labor has failed to do anything about.
It is hard for me to understand why a member of the United States Senate would even consider condoning the denial of the statutory health care owed to veterans and instead permit the money to be stolen, misappropriated, and wasted on fraudulent activities by the non-veterans preferred for employment by the Federal civil service.
Please let me know what objections could be raised to eliminating the wasteful appropriations to the useless agencies mentioned and to giving veterans the right to direct access to a jury trial in the nearest District Court whenever their legal rights are violated.
Charles W. Heckman