UPDATED!: VA's $52k 'Patton' video parody hits the air

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News,Watchdog,Mark Flatten,Veterans Affairs

A $52,000 parody of the opening sequence in the movie "Patton" commissioned by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and paid for with taxpayer dollars was released today by the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

The Washington Examiner reported Monday that members of Congress are demanding an explanation for the decision to hire a professional actor and production company to make the video, which was used in two VA conferences last year in Orlando. Those conferences had a combined cost of $5 million.

The video contains a surplus of human resources bureaucratese and self-serving agency promotion, so be forewarned that it's b-o-r-i-n-g.

UPDATE: VA says video was a no-no

The VA issued a statement Wednesday afternoon calling the video a “misuse of taxpayer funds,” and adding that  “this parody should never have been produced and this misuse of taxpayer funds is completely unacceptable. We have already adopted new rules that reflect our continuing commitment to safeguarding taxpayer dollars.”

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki also vowed in the statement to “hold accountable any individuals who are found to have misused taxpayers dollars or violated our standards of conduct.”

The Examiner reported that the VA spent $84,000 on promotional items such as pens, highlighters and hand sanitizers for the conferences held last summer, according to congressional sources. At least seven agency officials also took government-paid trips to Nashville, Dallas and Orlando to scout conference locations.

Contact Mark Flatten at mflatten@washingtonexaminer.com.

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