The White House this summer rejected half of the candidates for the nonpartisan Board of Veterans’ Appeals after asking for the candidates’ party affiliations, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
The Post, citing documents, reported that the White House required candidates for the board to disclose their party affiliations “and other details of their political leanings” before determining whether to accept them. The candidates were nominated to serve as administrative judges on the board.
The Board of Veterans’ Appeals, which is part of the Department of Veterans Affairs, determines whether injured veterans are entitled to benefits.
The questions the White House asked about the candidates’ party affiliation and political leanings had not been asked of candidates in the past, according to the Post.
The rejected candidates consisted of three Democrats and one independent, according to the newspaper. The accepted candidates, who were sworn in last week, were made up of three Republicans and one person who isn’t registered with a party but has voted in Republican primaries, the Post reported.
One candidate told the Post that candidates were required to submit links to their social media pages and say whether they had ever given a speech to Congress, spoken at a political convention, appeared on talk radio or published an opinion piece in either a conservative or liberal outlet.
Although the denied candidates weren’t told why they were turned away, their rejections have caused concern among current and former officials in the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to the Post.
VA spokesman Curt Cashour told the Post that the rejections were part of a vetting process of candidates, noting that in 2016 two judges on the board and three attorneys were found to have sent racist and sexist emails.
“Vetting failures of past administrations allowed judges who held racist and sexist views to be appointed to the Board,” Cashour told the newspaper in an email. “This administration refuses to be a rubber stamp and is committed to doing a much better job of vetting.”
BY MICHAEL BURKE – 10/23/18