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Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki pauses as he speaks at a meeting of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, Friday, May 30, 2014, in Washington. President Barack Obama says he plans to have a "serious conversation" with Shinseki about whether he can stay in his job.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

FedBid barred from any new government contracts

- The Washington Times

The federal government this week deemed FedBid, a politically connected reverse auction firm, “ineligible” for new government contracts, months after a scandal laid bare how the company tried to destroy the reputation of a senior Veterans Affairs official who ruled against it.

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HAZARDOUS: Fort McClellan in Alabama was the site of the only military facility in the U.S. to use live chemical weapons such as sulfur mustard and nerve agents. (Associated Press)

Pentagon puts budget concerns ahead of Fort McClellan troops' welfare

- The Washington Times

Putting budget concerns ahead of troop welfare, a top Obama administration appointee declared to Congress that the Pentagon doesn't want to spend the money to alert hundreds of thousands of soldiers who served at a once-contaminated Army base that they may have been exposed to toxins.

The Golden Hammer

Army Corps dumps $7M into defective Afghan plant

- The Washington Times

According to a report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the United States has shelled out more than $7.2 million to construct a defective power plant and wasted another $1.3 million building two gas stations that have never been used.

In this photo taken on Nov. 20, 2013, Navy Cmdr. Jose Luis Sanchez, right, walks with unidentified individuals in San Diego, Calif. Sanchez pleaded guilty Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, in a massive bribery scheme involving a longtime military contractor in Asia who allegedly offered luxury travel, prostitutes and other bribes to Navy officers in exchange for confidential information. Sanchez, 42, is the highest-ranking official to plead guilty in the case, which rocked the Navy when the first charges were filed in 2013. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced March 27.  (AP Photo/U-T San Diego, John Gastaldo )  NO SALES; COMMERCIAL INTERNET OUT

Navy commander pleads guilty to bribery charges

The Washington Times

A U.S. Navy commander pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges that he accepted bribes — including the services of prostitutes — in exchange for providing classified data to a defense contractor.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald, tapped to clean up the VA after reports of secret waiting lists and botched care, took office with a vow to protect whistleblowers. (Associated Press)

House committee demands records of VA whistleblower

- The Washington Times

The chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs this week demanded that VA Secretary Robert McDonald turn over documents that would shed light on why his department suspended an employee who exposed the drug arrest of a high-ranking VA official.

As Barack Obama enters the twilight of his presidency, he presides over an America vastly different from the one he envisioned building during his 2008 campaign that promised to empower everyday Americans on Main Street over wealthy bankers and investors on Wall Street. (Associated Press)

Obama rules cost $181.5B in 2014: report

- The Washington Times

The Obama administration pushed through $181.5 billion in new or expanded regulations in 2014, according to a new report from a conservative think that said California, Texas and Ohio were hardest hit by the additional red tape.

 (Associated Press)

VA failed to vet dubious contractors

- The Washington Times

An internal VA study has found that an east coast office that handles about $4 billion in business each year didn't do enough checks to vet the backgrounds of companies to which it awarded contracts.

Sharon Helman, director of the Department of Veterans Affairs' Phoenix clinic, was fired from the VA, but only because she improperly took thousands of dollars in gifts. A personnel appeals judge last week rejected the VA's claim that she should also have been dismissed for overseeing the wait lists. (Associated Press)

VA loses first case against clinic director in scandal

- The Washington Times

The VA blundered its first public act of accountability in this year's wait list scandal, with department investigators and attorneys failing to make a case stick against the Phoenix clinic director who oversaw the cooked books and secret lists that left veterans struggling for care.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.  (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

HUD scammer seeks credit for revealing crime

- The Washington Times

A former Department of Housing and Urban Development official who stole more than $800,000 from the agency says he never would have been caught if he hadn't helped reform the troubled loan office that hired him despite his own lengthy criminal record.