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