PERRYBLOG: Coffman wins bruising military record battle against VA Sec. McDonald


Aurora’s Congressman Mike Coffman came out of another battle victorious this week.

The 21-year military veteran and three-term Republican congressman got into a war of words with VA Secretary Robert McDonald a couple of weeks ago during a House committee hearing on why the Aurora VA boondoggle hospital and similar over-budget, over-deadline boondoggle projects are still over-budget and nowhere near complete.

The heated hearing went nuclear while Coffman pressed McDonald to know whether he’s cleaned up the “corruption” and   “incompetence” at the Veterans Affairs administration. McDonald blew a gasket, giving Coffman the who-do-you-think-you-are-? treatment and shot back, “I’ve run a large company, sir. What have you done?”

That prompted Coffman to post this on his congressional website:

“Let me start by telling you something I haven’t done. I have never run a federal agency that tolerates corruption the way the VA has. I’ve never built a hospital that’s years behind schedule and hundreds of millions over budget. And I’ve never been a shill for inept bureaucrats who allowed American heroes to die on a medical waiting list while waiting for medical care.”

Ouch. After a brief time when all sides were looking for a way to quit shifting blame and start moving building materials, clearly, the shill is gone, just not from his VA post.

Coffman fought in both Iraq wars and helped run elections in that war-torn country while he was Colorado Secretary of State, and he gets a lot of mileage from his veteran’s veteran status. So then the sniping started about whether Coffman was a real combat veteran, or just did time in a tent in the desert.

Coffman said he won that battle this week when the Washington Post took Coffman to task about what his military record really was. They gave the Aurora native a green check-mark o’ truth, confirming that he was indeed honored by the U.S. Marines for being in real battle during his first tour of duty in Iraq. To get the distinction, you have to be somewhere the enemy is shooting and you have the opportunity to shoot back. No word on whether Coffman did that, but he’s firing back at McDonald by spreading the word of the Washington Post. Your move, Secretary McDonald.

And the Aurora VA hospital? Yuck.

— Follow Editor Dave Perry on Face Book and Twitter, he’s EditorDavePerry








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National Tragedy
8 years ago

Yet at the same time, Sens. Gardner and Bennet are calling for the VA committee to have a site visit to better understand the situation. Perhaps Mad Mike can hold off on trying to get a second VA chief fired before his Senate counterparts have a chance to sort through things or even let the aforementioned VA chief get the chance to do anything about the mess that he inherited?

8 years ago

Just what would expect the Senate side to learn by looking at the non-completed site? Rep. Mike Coffman (not mad mike) is Chairman of the House Committee for VA, and is well aware of the problems from beginning of our fight to get it done, when Lowry and Fitzsimons were about to close (94 and 97). As very much involved with State Management, having filled about all of the elected positions except Governor, the entire Colorado delegation was aboard in the heavy lifting time. That was when CU and VA Directors went to Washington to sell the concept to President, House and Senate. And at that time VA had some old timers who stated “VA does not build hospitals, we lease buildings now”. Also some Veteran groups opposed at that time, since they lived in Denver, close to Colorado Blvd, and saw no reason to move to Aurora. So problem has moved from Denver-Colorado area, and is in Washington. Change of President, and now change of VA leadership, Congress has been the funds draggers, listening to bean counters. Rep. Mike Coffman is eminently knowledgeable and qualified, and does not earn such adjective before his name. He is a Veteran, and he does represent all of the Veteran groups who fought to get this construction. Many Veterans who traveled, lobbied, educated through the years are deceased now, with many of us still fighting in our way to get it. Mike has initiated action to get the funding and Corp. of Engineers are now aboard to oversee completion, with Kewitt-Turner still involved. Problem is still in Washington, and like driving mules, Mike is applying the pitchfork to rears, as I did at age 10 & 11. Yelling from the hinderlands does nothing but satisfy self ego. —————-Side note, in all my 26 years of military service, I received the pay and benefits for my rank and such specialty pays that I earned and qualified for. Whoever came up with giving bonuses to civil service employees for doing their job, as contracted for set up a reason to fudge the figures. We need to weed out those folks, and stop the bonuses. Private Companies can do that. Not Government employees, or those who will fudge the results, will flock to such jobs. We don’t need those. We demand honest days work, from all taxer paid employees.

Jim S.
8 years ago

As to Military and us Veterans of: Only one thing worse then Military Posers, as to the wars during and after, and that’s ‘Poser Patriotism’ by those served!!!!
Unwilling to Sacrifice themselves not only in paying for their wars but the long term results from, Decades and Wars Of, DeJa-Vu!!!!!!!! Thinking the legislation passed for political points, with costs, by their hired reps are Actually Funded By Them!!!!!

A Country that calls itself a Representative Democracy of the People Really Really has a Huge Problem in Understanding that the Agencies of are them.

They’re Responsibility to fully fund, and the direct Representatives they Elect Responsibility is to make sure they are funded sufficiently and given all the help those who’ve served are promised. So not to cause major problems that snowball and create other problems, causing the important agency funding, under funded for decades, to shift to costly corrections instead of the intended needs.

The oft repeated political ‘scandals’, from congress to congress to congress…….., made for media coverage and personal political enrichment.

How does a Country served, and through their Representatives, avoid blaming themselves, they either totally ignore, PTS, Agent Orange, Gulf War Syndrome, Burn Pit contamination and plenty more, or for personal individual enrichment and political status create the political talking points by expertly{?} denying the issues, like PTS, even exist. Finally starting to be addressed, even with the gross under funding, by Gen Shinseki, continuing it seems with McDonald, and with the help of the Obama Executive Administration and it’s Cabinet when those Agencies can, they don’t control the Countries purse strings Congress does. And the Country, they’re Representatives and even Veterans, political ideologies of, wraps itself in both, in blaming the Agency and it’s personal, so they can escape their own Sacrifices in their Responsibility, the Veterans Administration!

Tax cuts, especially for the wealthy who received even more during the past decade plus along with many getting even more corporate welfare as profits sky rocket, while making policy of invasions and long occupations from, as well as the blowback from those policies, is not only irresponsible but is not shared sacrifice of those sent to carry out those policies! And this recent history was compounded by a near total collapse of the economy!

USN All Shore ’67-’71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country ’70-’71 – Independent**

Jim S.
8 years ago
Reply to  Jim S.

Fact: Bob Herbert ‘Losing Our Way’ : “And then the staggering costs of these wars, which are borne by the taxpayers. I mean, one of the things that was insane was that, as we’re at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush administration cut taxes. This has never been done in American history. The idea of cutting taxes while you’re going to war is just crazy. I mean, it’s madness.” Bill ‘Moyers and Company’: ‘Restoring an America That Has Lost its Way’ 10 Oct. 2014

Fact: Matthew Hoh {former Marine and foreign service officer in Afghanistan}: “We spend a trillion dollars a year on national security in this country.” “And when you add up to the Department of Defense, Department of State, CIA, Veterans Affairs, interest on debt, the number that strikes me the most about how much we’re committed financially to these wars and to our current policies is we have spent $250 billion already just on interest payments on the debt we’ve incurred for the Iraq and Afghan wars.” 26 September 2014

Fact: **The Cost of US Wars Since 9/11: $1.6 Trillion**
Dec. 23, 2014 – The cost of US war-making in the 13 years since the September 11 terrorist attacks reached a whopping $1.6 trillion in 2014, according to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).>>>>

Chris Hayes MSNBC: “If you can run a deficit to go to war, you can run a deficit to take care of the people who fought it” In response to Republican opposition to expanding Veterans’ benefits on fiscal grounds

Fact: “If military action is worth our troops’ blood, it should be worth our treasure, too — not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific ante by every American.” -Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013

USN All Shore ’67-’71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country ’70-’71 – Independent**

Slick Jarhead
Slick Jarhead
8 years ago

And over 3 weeks ago, McDonald claimed to be Special Forces………