VA chief faulted for trip expenses

WASHINGTON — Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin improperly accepted Wimbledon tennis tickets and his staff lied that he was getting an award in order to justify his wife accompanying him at taxpayer expense on an 11-day European trip that mixed business and sightseeing, according to a blistering government investigation released Wednesday.

The 87-page report by the VA’s internal watchdog said Shulkin should reimburse the government more than $4,000 for his wife’s airfare and accused his top aide of doctoring emails to falsely represent that Shulkin as being honored in Denmark, inventing a rationale for his wife’s free travel.

“The investigation revealed serious derelictions” by Shulkin and his staff, said the report, which cited “poor judgment and/or misconduct.”

The findings are the latest in a series of controversies involving expensive or wasteful plane travel by top Trump administration officials.

Top lawmakers on the congressional oversight committees urged Shulkin, a former VA undersecretary of health who served in the Obama administration, to fully address the findings.

They stressed in a joint statement that “whether intentional or not, misusing taxpayer dollars is unacceptable.”