Former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin violated ethics rules when he allowed his driver to transport his wife without him, according to report by the agency's inspector general.
The report was detailed in a story by USA Today.
"Secretary [Robert] Wilkie takes seriously any ethical breaches or violations of federal statute such as those identified in this report, and has made clear to VA employees that they will not be tolerated on his watch," VA press secretary Curt Cashour wrote in a statement to Newsmax on Thursday. "To that end, the issues identified in the report were addressed immediately upon his arrival as secretary."
The Inspector General found Shulkin allowed his driver to transport his wife several times. In one case cited, the driver took her to a train station in a government vehicle when he was on duty.
The use of government vehicles for unofficial purposes is prohibited. The personal transportation would have been qualified as a gift. Ethics rules prevent employees from taking gifts from subordinates, the newspaper noted.
"Secretary Shulkin was aware that these services, which benefited him at least indirectly, were being offered to his wife," the inspector general's report said. "Accordingly, he had an ethical obligation to decline the gift."
The newspaper noted the investigation was sparked by complaints Shulkin improperly used personnel during house-hunting trips and to Home Depot.
The report found Shulkin was "within his discretion" to have a security detail with him on personal errands.
While Shulkin was still at the VA, another IG report found that during a trip to London and Demark he improperly accepted tickets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament and his chief of staff made false statement so Shulkin's wife could travel at government expense.
Shulkin was fired by President Donald Trump in March 2018, Stars and Stripes noted.
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