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Webb questions inclusion of U.S. Navy Veterans Association in VA guide

Rosalind Helderman

U.S. Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) today sent a letter to Eric Shinseki, the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, asking that Shinseki clarify how groups that are included in the agency's directory of veterans service organizations are vetted.

His letter was prompted by revelations about the U.S. Navy Veterans Association, which has been included in the VA's directory and is now the subject of official scrutiny in three states. Webb wrote that it was "disconcerting" that the group remains listed in the directory, even though inclusion there does not constitute an endorsement by the VA.

"At the same time, it stands to reason that veterans have a reasonable expectation of legitimacy and credibility if such an organization is listed on your official website, regardless of official endorsement," Webb writes.

Of 85 state and national directors and officers listed for the group, the St. Petersburg Times was able to locate only one -- Bobby Thompson of Tampa. On Monday, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and other Virginia politicians said they were donating campaign contributions they received from Thompson to established veterans charities.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), who received more than $55,000 from Thompson, has not followed suit. Cuccinelli political director Noah Wall has said the attorney general will donate Thompson's contributions if he is convicted of a crime related to misappropriating charity funds.

Here's his full statement on the issue: "If Mr. Thompson was convicted of wrongdoing relative to the misappropriation of funds, and contributions to our campaign came from money that was supposed to go to active duty military or veterans, we would donate those contributions to military support organizations here in Virginia." 


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By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 18, 2010; 4:25 PM ET
Categories:  James Webb , Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  | Tags: Bob McDonnell, Jim Webb, St. Petersburg Times, Virginia  
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