Veteran Affairs Secretary David Shulkin’s Chief of staff has announced her resignation after it was learned she lied to investigators about doctoring an email that allowed Shulkin’s wife to accompany him on a trip to Europe last year at the taxpayer’s expense. Vivieca Wright Simpson, a 32-year veteran, told coworkers she would be retiring this morning. Simpson had spent the last two years working for Shulkin.
Two days ago, the VA inspector general released a report recommending that Wright be disciplined for writing in an email to an ethics lawyer that Shulkin was getting special recognition or an award during a trip to Denmark and London last year. The statements allowed Shulkin’s wife to accompany him on the taxpayer funded trip.
Shulkin apologized earlier in the week and reimbursed the government for his wife’s airfare. He is also seeking to reimburse a British veterans’ advocate for tickets to the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament that he and wife improperly accepted.
“I am committed to continuing the work that I came here to do, which is to support the president’s agenda to reform the VA and fix the VA the way that veterans deserve, the care and services they’ve earned,” Shulkin said. “And I am going to remain focused on that task and I am not going to get distracted from what we have to do.”
It is unclear what caused Wright Simpson to doctor the email. Wright Simpson declined to comment.