U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

Baldwin, Blumenthal Call for VA Inspector General Investigation into Security of Veterans’ Personal Information

“While this particular incident occurred in Wisconsin, we believe the issue is one of national importance and request that you conduct a system-wide review of the Department’s practice,” the Senators wrote.

By - Nov 6th, 2015 09:45 am

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) and the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, and Senator Richard Blumenthal, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, have called for a formal investigation by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) into whether adequate safeguards are in place within the VA to protect veterans’ personal information.  

This request was prompted by an April 2015 incident in which a State employee at the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) sent veterans’ personally identifiable information (PII) to an unintended and unauthorized recipient over the Department of Veterans Affairs’ email system. Shortly thereafter, Senator Baldwin’s office reached out to the VA OIG to explore whether there was cause for them to review the incident in Wisconsin. At that time, the VA OIG stated there was no nexus for them to review an incident that appeared to wholly involve a state entity.

However, in their letter, Senators Baldwin and Blumenthal argue there is indeed a federal nexus given that the WDVA—when transmitting veterans’ information—utilizes VA systems, including software and email servers, which include tools to protect veterans’ PII from unintended disclosure. Despite these safeguards the accidental disclosure in Wisconsin still occurred.

“While this particular incident occurred in Wisconsin, we believe the issue is one of national importance and request that you conduct a system-wide review of the Department’s practice,” the Senators wrote.

Senators Baldwin and Blumenthal also sent a letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald requesting information from the Secretary on the process by which VA shares information with non-Agency personnel for purposes of assisting veterans with their claims for service-connection of disabilities. In that letter the Senators request information on how PII is safeguarded on the VA’s e-mail system from inappropriate or accidental disclosure from the VA to a third-party, such as a state department of veterans affairs, or from the third-party to another individual.

Mentioned in This Press Release

Recent Press Releases by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin - Page 3

Bipartisan VA Accountability Reform One Step Closer to Senate Passage

Committee on Veterans’ Affairs approves bipartisan legislation, now heads to full Senate for vote

Senators Baldwin, Markey, Menendez, Shaheen Call for Increased Federal Funding to Combat Opioid Epidemic

"We request that the FY2018 appropriations bill reflect the magnitude of this public health crisis by increasing federal investment in addressing opioid and all substance use disorders across HHS agencies."

Senator Baldwin Supports Legislation that Takes Action on Student Debt Crisis

Student loan debt has swelled to $1.4 trillion, surpassing total amount of credit card debt

Senator Baldwin and Representative Bera Lead Effort to Support Working Students

The Working Students Act will allow students that must work while in college to complete their degrees more quickly and with less debt

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement on the Firing of FBI Director Comey

"President Trump’s decision to make this move tonight is an attack on the rule of law and raises more questions that demand answers."

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Announces Legislation to Restore Retirement Security to 10 Million Americans

"It’s time for Washington to respect the hard work of American workers and make sure that the promises made to them are kept."

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Joins Letter to FCC Chairman Highlighting Importance of Net Neutrality to Women Across America

In letter, Senators urge Chairman to reconsider proposal undermining online protections for consumers

Senators Baldwin and Collins Introduce the RAISE Family Caregivers Act

The bipartisan legislation would establish a national strategy to support family caregivers

Historic, Comprehensive LGBT Non-Discrimination Legislation Re-Introduced in Congress

Despite major advances in equality for LGBT Americans the majority of states still do not have explicit LGBT non-discrimination protection laws.

Senator Baldwin and Representative Levin Reintroduce Tax Reform to Close Carried Interest Loophole, Urge President Trump to Keep His Promise

Legislation would end tax loophole for hedge fund managers, while Trump plan opens new tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Cosponsors Bipartisan Legislation to Help Halt Flow of Illicit Fentanyl into the United States

Baldwin joins Markey, Rubio, Brown and Capito to help promote the latest in chemical screening devices and scientific support to detect and intercept fentanyl and other synthetic opioids

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Leads Cosponsors in Pressing for Senate Action on Buy America Legislation After President Trump Announces Support

President Trump last week said he supports the Made in America Water Infrastructure Act “100 percent”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *