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Congress has launched an official investigation into how Trump allowed three wealthy members of his Mar-a-Lago club to exert sweeping influence over the Department of Veterans Affairs.

None of the three men — Ike Perlmutter (chairman and CEO of Marvel Entertainment), Bruce Moskowitz (a doctor), and Marc Sherman (an attorney) — had experience with veterans’ healthcare, or even any experience serving in the government or the military. Yet they were able to influence government decisions that affected the lives of American veterans, and may have made unethical profits for themselves in the process.

The chair of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA), sent a letter to Robert Wilkie, the current Secretary for Veterans Affairs, informing him that the investigation of what Takano called the “Mar-a-Lago Three” is now underway.

Takano noted that the Mar-a-Lago Three were “not accountable to veterans and the American people” when they “ostensibly used their wealth and connections to President Trump and his family to make decisions for the Department.”

Citing public documents and related email traffic, Takano wrote that the department “apparently treated these Mar-a-Lago members as having decision-making authority.”

That allowed these inexperienced Trump cronies, who had no official role at the VA, to weigh in on official business like picking candidates to lead the department or organizing meetings between the VA and outside businesses.

Of particular concern for Takano is that the three men have “no experience delivering healthcare to veterans” — but they still tried to influence government decisions on healthcare delivery, and rejected advice from experts at the department, in order to benefit themselves.

Takano noted that the VA entered into an agreement with Apple that “could personally enrich Dr. Moskowitz and his family,” and that then-VA Secretary David Shulkin participated in a Veterans Day event at the New York Stock Exchange that promoted Marvel, Perlmutter’s company.

The scandal is an example both of Trump’s corruption — which the previous Republican-led Congress allowed to thrive unchecked — and his seemingly never-ending disdain for veterans and the military.

Voters clearly got sick of this behavior from Trump and Republicans, which is one reason the House, and its substantial investigative power, is now in Democratic hands. And now Congress can finally do its job and start defending veterans against Trump’s greed and disinterest.

Published with permission of The American Independent. 

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