Two high-ranking officials in the Department of Veterans Affairs were recently demoted from their positions after being accused of manipulating the agency’s hiring system. The department released a statement saying Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves, both senior level executives, received demotions to Veterans Benefits Administration general workers amid the controversy.
Federal criminal lawyer from Broden & Mickelsen reports on developments in a case involving two VA executives accused of manipulating the agency’s hiring system.
Source: AP Report “2 VA officials demoted amid job-manipulation allegations”
“WASHINGTON (AP) — Two high-ranking officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs were demoted Friday in response to allegations that they manipulated the agency’s hiring system for their own gain…The VA said in a statement that Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves were demoted from senior executives — the highest rank for career employees — to general workers within the Veterans Benefits Administration.”
To read more visit http://news.yahoo.com/apnewsbreak-2-high-ranking-va-officials-demoted-223012638–politics.html;_ylt=AwrC1CpqH1NWmRwA3BnQtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTByOHZyb21tBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg–.
Rubens and Graves allegedly forced lower ranking regional managers to reluctantly accept job transfers and then stepped into the open positions. An acting inspector general for the VA said the two maintained their salary with a reduction in responsibilities. The two have also been accused of using questionable methods to obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars through a program designated for executives within the VA.
Earlier this month, both officials refused to testify to Congress concerning the allegations, invoking their Fifth Amendment rights.
Source: The Washington Times Report “VA executives accused of abusing bonus rules plead the Fifth”
“Two VA executives accused of arranging moves to new jobs and wrongly collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars along the way refused to answer questions about their behavior Monday, pleading their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in testimony to Congress.”
The two women are still facing possible criminal prosecution.
Invoking One’s Fifth Amendment Rights
Some are questioning why Rubens and Graves received demotions amid reports of the allegations and investigation outcome and as opposed to being terminated by the department. There are also questions about the type of criminal charges that may be filed in this case. Did the decision to invoke their Fifth Amendment rights during Congressional testimony impact the outcomes for their being able to maintain positions within the VA as well as the speed of a decision being made regarding pending criminal prosecution?
According to federal criminal lawyer Clinton Broden of the Dallas based law firm of Broden & Mickelsen, who is not related to the case, regarding one’s Fifth Amendment rights “To invoke this privilege, a person must show that the government is seeking (i) to compel him (ii) to give testimony (iii) that would incriminate him.”
The criminal attorney further notes that a number of defendants prefer to go this route when there are complex issues of their case that can lead to their testimony being misconstrued even in the event that they have done no wrong. Because of the possibility of criminal prosecution, statements Rubens and Graves may have made to Congress could have helped form the basis of charges filed later on, or given other support for a case against them. Due to the challenges that can accompany the decision of whether to invoke one’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination it is advisable to consult with one’s attorney for a careful assessment beforehand.
Time will tell what the final outcome will be for the two women accused in the VA case, and the extent to which their decisions played a role.
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