Bill Targets Abuse in VA Contracting

Bill Targets Abuse in VA Contracting

under legislation filed this week by Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and Rep. Daryl Issa, R-Calif.

The bipartisan bill comes after lawmakers in June took testimony from a Virginia businessman who got a VA disability on the basis of a 1984 football injury at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School; the compensation meant his company would be considered for contract set-asides for businesses owned by disabled vets.

The bill filed this week by Duckworth and Issa, who chairs the committee that grilled business owner Braulio Castillo in June, would no longer grant veteran’s status to men or women whose only connection to the military is attending a service academy high school. The bill would define “veteran” to exclude such individuals and prevent them from exploiting the system to secure contracting preferences.

“The Support Earned Recognition for Veterans (SERV) Act [is] a bipartisan bill to eliminate abuses in the veterans benefit system and ensure that only individuals who have actually served in the military can qualify to receive government contracting preferences and similar benefits,” the two said in a joint statement released Nov. 14.

Currently, men and women who attend a service academy prep school may claim veteran’s status without ever being in the military.  The SERV Act

The lawmakers first announced their intention to file the bill in a joint op-ed in The Hill newspaper on Nov. 11, reiterating evidence from the committee’s investigation showing that Castillo picked up $500 million in IRS contracts earlier this year that were set-asides for businesses owned by disabled vets.

Castillo, owner of Strong Castle, an information technology company, never served in the actual armed forces, but took advantage of the current law to secure a VA disability.

During the June hearing Duckworth tore into Castillo after reading from his letter to the VA about “the considerable sacrifices” he made in service, and that he “would do it again to protect this great country.”

“Shame on you, Mr. Castillo. Shame on you,” said Duckworth, who lost both legs when the helicopter she was piloting in Afghanistan was shot down. “You may not have broken any laws …But you certainly broke the trust of this great nation.”

Duckworth, in the joint statement with Issa, called their bill “a common-sense solution to a small problem, but a good start so that we can spend taxpayer dollars more effectively and honor our Veterans properly.”

Issa said in the joint statement: “Those who never actually served our country are not – and should not — be entitled to receive this special status.  This loophole must be closed to reduce these egregious abuses and prevent taxpayer dollars from being inappropriately awarded to non-Veterans.”


Join the Conversation

What about those who never graduate from a service academy? Since they were on “active duty” they get all the VA benefits even though they quit or got kicked out of their free education. This is “thousands” of “vets”.

yeah this is all simple until you dig into things a bit more closely. what about summer training that takes many of the cadets to airborne school, or air assault school, or they do a ranger induction program (is that what its called)? what happens to a cadet that busts his head on the obstacle course or get his leg busted during martial arts training?


everything is simple till its not.

I’ll tell you what is simple. Back when the doctors and nurses who staff these VA hospitals were actual employees of the US government the level of service was better and the costs were much lower. Yet another example of how outsourcing government jobs to defense contractors has screwed the US taxpayer. The defense contractors hire the worst, least qualified people they can get to maximize their profit margin, and when these slackers can’t get the job done, they hire more of them so they can bill more hours to their contract. And, hell, half the time they don’t even hire Americans for these jobs anyway. But, yeah, Congress is ever vigilant. They definitely have our backs. Oh look, they just made a token effort to save us money. Isn’t that nice?

you got that right!!! everytime and it isn’t anyone part of the V.A. Hospital you have foreign people working their, they don’t understand our speech, our eating habit’s, our abilities to get along with each other how vet’s understand each other.

Is this the “prep” course the U.S. Army used to conduct for 6 weeks at Ft. Monmouth N.J.?, (since moved to USMA)? If it is, then all are single members of the U.S. Army. If my assumption is correct, this solider was injured & received a disability entitlement based upon being on active duty & sufferring a dichargeable injury. “whose only connection to the military is attending a service academy high school.” This is the part I’m struggling with.…is this JROTC? @ a civilian H.S.?.… someone help this OCS comissioned officer out??? I think this is two stories in one.

What these 2 headline grabbing clowns should have done was write a bill to be retroactive to the year 1900 to include all these type of cases and totally bar them from any benefits. And they can do so reto because they have done it before to benefit themselves and others they wished to help or persecute. As it is they have done nothing but get their names in the paper as Pro Vet. Actions speck louder than cheap words and the BS they are puting out. And the bad guy still won and has 500 million in contracts, but of course they made him feel bad all the way to the bank. More Congressional Bull Squat.

You can be deferred from military academy straight out of high school but accepted into the prep school, which is what happened with this guy. Never served before the prep school, hurt his ankle playing football somehow, never even made it to the academy. He was at Ft Monmouth as per his testimony to the panel in which he got ripped up. Dirtbag if you ask me.

Although the whole system is HIGHLY flawed.

–Active Duty Deployed USMC Gunnery Sergeant.


NOTE: Comments are limited to 2500 characters and spaces.

By commenting on this topic you agree to the terms and conditions of our User Agreement

AdChoices | Like us on , follow us on and join us on Google+
© 2015 Military Advantage
A Monster Company.