Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, as a long-time advocate for whistleblowers, wrote to the Department of Veterans Affairs twice about VA retaliation against Brandon Coleman for pointing out poor treatment of suicidal veterans where he worked in Arizona. Eventually, the Office of Special Counsel helped restore Coleman in a VA position after more than a year on administrative leave. A new report from the Office of Special Counsel finds that Coleman and another whistleblower likely saved lives by speaking out on suicide risks at the Phoenix VA hospital. Grassley has pressed the VA Office of Inspector General to review the suicides of two Iowa veterans. One review is under way, and another is under initial evaluation. Grassley made the following comment on the latest report involving Coleman and the Arizona VA.
“This is yet more vindication that the whistleblowers in Arizona were in the right. It’s further proof that whistleblowers deserve the ear of those in charge. Too often, whistleblowers are ignored in violation of common sense and likely legal protections. The problem with veterans suicide is especially serious. When it comes to suicide prevention, every voice must be heard. I appreciate the courage of Brandon Coleman and Jared Kinnaman in Phoenix and the many other whistleblowers who speak out every day to help others. I’m grateful for the Office of Special Counsel as well.”