Big Questions About Tanya Bradsher Nomination for Veterans Affairs

In early 2022, Charmain Bogue, a top official of the Department of Veterans Affairs, resigned rather than answer questions from the VA’s Inspector General about conflicts of interest that were uncovered and publicized by NLPC in 2020.

The conflicts were related to the hiring of her husband Barrett Bogue by an outside group known as Veterans Education Success (VES).

NLPC obtained Charmain Bogue’s government disclosure forms. Under the section where a spouse’s income is supposed to be disclosed, she wrote only, “Self-Employed (Consulting Firm)” and listed the income type as “Salary, Consulting Fees.” She did not identify the source of the income as VES. After NLPC publicized these circumstances, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) in April 2021 demanded an investigation by the VA of her apparent conflicts.

Grassley also asked VA Secretary Denis McDonough some very important questions about how such a situation could occur at the VA. McDonough never responded but those questions are now being posed again with the nomination of Tanya Bradsher to be VA Deputy Secretary, McDonough’s chief of staff.

Since there is some expectation that McDonough may soon step down from his post, Bradsher would become acting VA Secretary.

Although McDonough blew off Grassley, the VA Inspector General (IG) did not, and launched an investigation. In March 2022, the IG issued a report that confirmed NLPC’s allegations. The IG reported that the VES/Barrett Bogue contract was for $5,000 per month. After the contract was terminated, Bogue received a $35,000 lump-sum payment.

The IG not only scrutinized the lump-sum payment, noting that it was not required by the contract, but also questioned the actual purpose of the contract. The IG cited evidence obtained from VES that Bogue did very little work, and that he was not qualified for the job.

In the interim, Grassley has persisted in seeking answers from the VA, sending unanswered letters on 7/20/21, 7/11/22, and 3/14/23. He even emphasized his frustration in a blistering 7/12/22 floor speech.

This spring, still stonewalled by the VA, Grassley placed a hold on Joshua Jacobs, the VA nominee for Under Secretary of Benefits. He gave another floor speech, and although Jacobs was ultimately confirmed, there were 25 “no” votes in the Senate.

Which leads us to the Bradsher nomination. A committee vote on her confirmation could take place as soon as this week.

As VA Secretary McDonough’s chief of staff, Bradsher is every bit as culpable as anyone in the VA for continuing to stonewall Senator Grassley about the Bogue matter uncovered by NLPC. At the same time, she is receiving uncomfortable questions about her oversight of a computer system called VA Integrated Enterprise Workflow Solution (VIEWS).

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) ordered VA and Bradsher to investigate allegations of a “potential data breach” after an OSC finding of a “substantial likelihood of wrongdoing” implicating VIEWS.” OSC is an independent U.S. government agency whose mission is to safeguard the federal employment merit system.

On June 5, a disabled veteran named Benjamin Krause wrote a good summary of the situation at He wrote, “Since OSC ordered VA to complete an investigation into VIEWS and its usage ten months ago, VA has repeatedly delayed releasing the investigation results, and numerous whistleblowers believe VA failed to address the alleged breaches fully.”

These are serious accusations. Grassley and his colleagues deserve answers.

Tanya Bradsher should not be confirmed until she provides answers and tells the Senate how she would fix these problems.




Tags: Charmain Bogue, Department of Veterans Affairs, Tanya Bradsher, Veterans Education Success