Veterans Group to Aid Small Firms Grossly Mismanaged

A nonprofit veterans group has "squandered" hundreds of thousands of dollars of the $17 million in federal funds it has received since 2001 and essentially abandoned its mission of helping veterans start small businesses, according to the results of a Senate investigation (pdf) released Thursday and reported in The Washington Post.

The National Veterans Business Development Corp. grossly mismanaged taxpayer dollars -- including lavish spending on costly dinners and luxury hotels, first-class travel, and compensation for its top two executives that amounted to nearly a quarter of the charity's federal funds, according to the report.

The top lawmakers on the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee -- Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) recommended that the veterans' group receive no more federal funds and that instead the funding go to the Small Business Administration's Office of Veterans Business Development.

By Sharon McLoone |  December 12, 2008; 11:40 AM ET Watchdogs
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Even in a town noted for one-sided story-telling, frequently disguised as a report from a congressional committee, the Senate report on The Veterans Corporation has hit a new low. To make matters worse, the Post has become an accomplice to this one-sided political hatchet job.
For example, the Post reporter did not talk with anyone from The Veterans Corporation before writing her story. Had she done so, she would have found out that the allegations in the Kerry report are many years old -- and every one of them were addressed and resolved many years ago. She would have found out that the employees who supposedly "mismanaged" the funds had not been with TVC in several years. She would also have found out that Senator Kerry was quite upset that a Boston-based service center did not receive TVC funds, irrespective of the fact that it would have likely violated federal law to provide money to a facility that lied when it claimed to have filed IRS 990 tax forms.
Even a cursory inquiry would have shown that this is little more than a political power grab by jealous veterans groups. As chairman of the committee issuing it, Senator Kerry has not distinguished himself in publishing this one-sided, out of context report. He should be ashamed -- and so should the Post for violating the tenets of Journalism 101 - always try to get the "other" side of the story.

Posted by: davidmolive | December 14, 2008 7:47 PM

Another article in the Wall Street Journal's Market watch http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/Kerry-Snowe-Investigation-Reveals-Veterans/story.aspx?guid={64DDA6F2-7C24-4EDA-9EFE-4184203739B1} appears to back Senators Kerry and Snowe and the Washington Post. It states, in addition to many of the same things in the Washington post story that the American Legion withdrew their Support for the TVC this August and that there have been problems shown in GAO reports.

How do you explain the findings that the TVC spends just 15% of their funds on the centers, dropping to 9% this year. Would you contribute to a charity with those numbers? I wouldn't and the TVC gets federal money - so it isn't even the cost of fundraising.

It seems to me that Senators Kerry and Snowe are doing the oversight that they are supposed to be doing.

Posted by: kpc1 | December 17, 2008 3:42 PM

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