Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin improperly accepted a gift of Wimbledon tickets during a work trip to Europe last summer in which he spent the majority of the time sightseeing, according to a report released by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Office of Inspector General.
The 11-day trip to Copenhagen and London cost taxpayers at least $122,334, the report said. It also alleged that Shulkin’s chief of staff altered a document and misrepresented information to ethics officials that ultimately caused his wife’s airfare to be covered by the government.
Shulkin; his wife, Dr. Merle Bari; senior VA leaders; and a six-member security detail flew a commercial airline to Copenhagen in July 2017 to attend a day and a half of meetings with Danish government and health care officials to discuss veterans issues, but also included a day of tourist stops.
The delegation then flew commercially to London to attend a veterans conference, but over half the secretary’s six days there were spent sightseeing and attending the Wimbledon tennis tournament.
The inspector general’s report said that, in the process, a VA employee’s time was “misused as a personal travel concierge to plan tourist activities exceeding that necessary for security arrangements.”
The VA secretary’s lawyers told ABC News that he “has not done anything improper.”
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