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The GOP on Veterans Issues

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Tomorrow, Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio will be headlining a veterans and military town hall in Exeter, New Hampshire, for the Concerned Veterans for America, a right-wing group backed by the Koch brothers. Rubio’s record on veterans issues is of great concern for our nation’s servicemen and women, so he’s lucky he is in friendly territory – addressing a group directly affiliated to the Koch brothers, whose funding he is courting.

Rubio is one of many Republican presidential hopefuls, including Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul, who have a poor record of service to our veterans – denying them access to education, health care, and other benefits. While the GOP has consistently failed to serve America’s servicemen and women, Hillary Clinton has fought tirelessly to ensure that veterans and their families are guaranteed the benefits that they deserve.

For more information on Hillary Clinton’s strong record on veterans issues, please read Correct The Record’s research analysis, Hillary Clinton: A Record of Service to Veterans.

 

2016 GOP on Veterans Issues

Marco Rubio

Education

Marco Rubio voted to block further action on a bill that would have enhanced benefits for veterans including guaranteeing in-state tuition rates at all public universities for post-9/11 veterans. “Senate Republicans derailed efforts to move forward with a $21 billion bill to enhance health care, education and job benefits for veterans. Republicans stopped the veterans bill from moving on a procedural vote, which needed 60 votes. The final tally was 56-41. Republicans and Democrats normally agree on the need to enhance benefits for the nation’s 22 million veterans and their families, but Republican senators wanted to lower the amount of spending in the bill… The bill would have improved benefits for veterans, including better health care and dental services provided by the VA. It also would have guaranteed post-9/11 veterans access to in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities in any state.” [ABC News, 2/27/14; S. 1928, 2/3/14]

Marco Rubio “advocated for leniency in the U.S. Department of Education’s investigation of Corinthian Colleges and its job placement claims.” “Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R), advocated for leniency in the U.S. Department of Education’s investigation of Corinthian Colleges and its job placement claims. The company shut down its remaining for-profit college campuses after the U.S. Department of Education fined the bankrupt company $30 million for its fraudulent claims to students about job placement rates. Several Corinthian Colleges’ campuses were located in Florida. The decision to shut down their campuses left some 16,000 students in a lurch, though the Department has given them the option to discharge their debt.”

  • Corinthian Colleges illegally used official military seals “in its advertising in an effort to recruit recently discharged service men and women” before shutting down “under the weight of regulatory and legal pressure.” “According to a civil complaint, filed by the state of California in October of 2013, Corinthian had been illegally using the official seals of the United States Navy, Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard in its advertising in an effort to recruit recently discharged service men and women. That wasn’t all. The college, or perhaps more accurately, company, was also accused of advertising for programs that it did not offer and misrepresenting job placement rates to students and investors. In late June, Corinthian announced it would shut down—finally caving under the weight of regulatory and legal pressure.” [TIME, 11/11/14]

Health Care

Marco Rubio supported privatizing the VA health care system. According to CNN, “A task force organized by Concerned Veterans for America said the VA should begin offering subsidized private insurance to veterans and transform its healthcare department into a nonprofit corporation instead of a government agency. The move comes in response to the scandal involving healthcare delays and data manipulation at VA facilities first reported by CNN. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, supported the proposed reforms, saying VA healthcare could improve by adopting the competition and flexibility of private healthcare.” [CNN, 2/26/15]

Marco Rubio supported transforming the VA health care system into a premium support model. At a health care policy summit hosted by the Concerned Veterans For America’s Fixing Veterans Health Care Task Force, Rubio said, “This premium support model is also exactly what we need to jolt the VA back to life. As soon as the VA is forced to compete with the private sector providers, it will increase the efficiency, the service and its innovation.” [Official Website of Senator Marco Rubio, 2/26/15]

Spousal Benefits

Marco Rubio voted against legislation that would ensure that “all legally married same-sex spouses have equal access to the Social Security and veterans benefits they have earned.” In 2015, Paul voted against an amendment that would “establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to ensuring all legally married same-sex spouses have equal access to the Social Security and veterans benefits they have earned and receive equal treatment under the law pursuant to the Constitution of the United States.” The Senate adopted the proposed amendment to the Senate’s FY 2016 budget resolution by a vote of 57 to 43, and later passed the amended resolution. [Senate roll call vote 121, 3/26/15; S. Amdt. 1063 to S. Con. Res. 11, 3/26/15]

VA Funding

Marco Rubio voted against providing $27 million for the Veterans Health Administration, as part of a $50.5 billion Superstorm Sandy recovery package. In January 2013, Rubio voted against a bill that, according to Congressional Quarterly, included provisions that “appropriate[d] the following amounts: […] Department of Veterans Affairs —$27 million through fiscal 2014 for the Veterans Health Administration, including $21 million for medical services and $6 million for medical facilities expenses. —$1.1 million for the National Cemetery Administration. —$531,000 for information technology systems. —$207 million for major construction projects through fiscal 2017.” The provisions were part of a larger bill that, according to Congressional Quarterly, “provide[d] about $50.5 billion for communities hit by Superstorm Sandy. Nearly all funding [was] designated as emergency spending exempt from discretionary caps, except for $5.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund.” The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 62 to 36; and, because the House had already approved the bill, it was then sent to the president, who signed it into law. [Senate roll call vote 4, 1/28/13; Congressional Quarterly, 1/28/13; Congressional Actions, H.R. 152; Congressional Quarterly, 1/30/13]

Marco Rubio effectively voted against considering the $142 billion FY 2012 Veterans Affairs, Military Construction, Military Housing and Related Programs appropriations bill. In July 2011, Rubio effectively voted against considering a bill that, according to the Congressional Quarterly Today, “would provide $142 billion in fiscal 2012 for the Department of Veterans Affairs, military construction, military housing and related operations. The bill also includes $52.5 billion in advance fiscal 2013 appropriations for VA medical programs.” The vote was on a motion to end debate on the motion to proceed to consider the bill; the Senate agreed to end debate by a vote of 89 to 11. The bill later passed the Senate, and after the House agreed nearly five months later, the bill was committed to a conference committee. The resulting conference report passed both the House and Senate and was signed into law by the president on December 23, 2011. [Senate roll call vote 109, 7/13/11; Congressional Quarterly Today, All Congressional Actions, H.R. 2055; H.R. 2055, 5/31/11]

 

Jeb Bush

Education

Jeb Bush defended for-profit colleges and criticized Pres. Obama for increasing accountability for the industry. “Last June, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was the keynote speaker at a Las Vegas annual convention of the trade association for for-profit colleges, The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities. Their members include ITT, Kaplan University, Corinthian Colleges and Career Education Corp. He told the convention that President Barack Obama’s ‘gainful employment’ rule was a ‘sledgehammer to the entire field of higher education.’” [Think Progress, 4/30/15]

  • For-profit colleges sought to enroll military members “often in ways that are not in the best interests of veterans and service members.” “As a beefier post-9/11 GI Bill has kicked in, a surge of service members has left the ranks armed with benefits that will cover the full cost of attending public college. In 2009, the for-profits took in almost as much military money as public colleges, even though they enrolled about one-third the number of vets. Spending on military education benefits has shot up to $10 billion; for-profit schools’ share of that money has gone up 600 percent, as revealed in a recent PBS Frontline exposé. For example, at Kaplan—owned by the Washington Post Co.—military revenues grew to an estimated $48.9 million last year, up from $2.6 million in 2006. The result has been a bonanza for schools’ executives and shareholders. ‘We didn’t foresee that the for-profit sector, eager to please Wall Street investors, would go after this new funding aggressively, often in ways that are not in the best interests of veterans and service members,’ stated Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) after leading an investigation into 30 major for-profits earlier this year. Or as one University of Phoenix alum put it on RipoffReport.com, the school ‘treats military students like cash piñatas.’” [Mother Jones, September/October 2011]

Health Care

Jeb Bush supported transforming veterans’ health care into a voucher system. “Mr. Bush, sitting in front of an untouched breakfast at an IHOP in Colorado Springs, told a group of veterans that he favors transferring some elements of veterans’ care to private hospitals from government-run Veterans Affairs facilities. ‘This is where I think empowering people with the equivalent of a voucher that gives you the same economic benefit of receiving care inside of a clinic or a hospital,’ Mr. Bush said in a video of the public event recorded by the Democratic firm American Bridge. ‘If you had a chance to go to another place where the money followed the patient, it would give the veterans — you wouldn’t have these kind of hostile reactions, my job is protected for life, don’t mess with it.’” [Wall Street Journal, 4/8/15]

  • Bush proposed a Koch brothers-backed “premium-support” option for voucherizing VA healthcare. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Last month in New Hampshire, Mr. Bush voiced support for 2014 legislation that allows veterans to see doctors outside the VA system if they experience long wait times or live more than 40 miles from the closest VA hospital. […]The effort to privatize elements of the VA system is a priority of the Koch brothers-backed group, Concerned Veterans for America, which in February called for creating a ‘premium-support private insurance option’ for current veterans and limiting eligibility requirements for future veterans.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/8/15]

Jeb Bush attempted to privatize portions of the VA health care system while Governor of Florida. According to CNN, “Jeb Bush’s effort as governor to partially privatize veterans health care services in Florida went so poorly it was ended shortly after Bush left office. That hasn’t stopped the former Republican governor, now in the early stages of running for president, from arguing veterans should be given the choice to see a public or private doctor, with either visit being paid for by the government. ‘All of these government programs should shift to the person who’s receiving the benefit and they should be empowered to have more choices, rather than be told what line you get into,’ Bush said recently in New Hampshire. […] But Bush’s experience outsourcing veterans’ nursing homes in Florida was a case study in privatization’s pitfalls. By the time it was over, Florida officials determined the state could provide higher-quality care at a better price for taxpayers.” [CNN, 5/1/15]

 

Ben Carson

Health Care

Ben Carson questioned whether “we even need” the VA system. “World-famous neurosurgeon Ben Carson told WMAL’s ‘Drive at Five Show’ in Washington, D.C. Friday afternoon following VA Secretary Shinseki’s resignation that the greatest problem with the VA system is ‘too many layers of bureaucrats.’ […] ‘The real issue is that you got to get all that bureaucracy out of there and quite frankly, do we even need that system for most of our veterans? Why can they not be served at the local hospitals where they live and not have to drive 50 or a 100 miles to get a to a veterans facility? These are honored people in our society. They should be welcomed at any of our facilities and we should be honored to take care of them.’” [Daily Caller, 5/30/14]

 

Chris Christie

Employment

Chris Christie conditionally vetoed a bill setting aside 3% of all state contracts for veteran-owned businesses. “A bill that would have set aside 3 percent of all state contracts for veteran-owned businesses was conditionally vetoed Tuesday by Gov. Chris Christie. The governor objected to the establishment of fixed percentage of contracts earmarked for veteran-owned businesses, according to his veto statement. In his suggested revisions, Christie deleted the section mandating that contracting agencies set aside 3 percent of their contracts for veteran-owned businesses and replaced it with language directing them to ‘give due consideration to veteran-owned businesses in awarding contracts.’’ [Asbury Park Press, 2/22/11]

 

Ted Cruz

Education

Ted Cruz voted to block further action on a bill that would have enhanced benefits for veterans including guaranteeing in-state tuition rates at all public universities for post-9/11 veterans. “Senate Republicans derailed efforts to move forward with a $21 billion bill to enhance health care, education and job benefits for veterans. Republicans stopped the veterans bill from moving on a procedural vote, which needed 60 votes. The final tally was 56-41. Republicans and Democrats normally agree on the need to enhance benefits for the nation’s 22 million veterans and their families, but Republican senators wanted to lower the amount of spending in the bill… The bill would have improved benefits for veterans, including better health care and dental services provided by the VA. It also would have guaranteed post-9/11 veterans access to in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities in any state.” [ABC News, 2/27/14; S. 1928, 2/3/14]

Spousal Benefits

Ted Cruz voted against legislation that would ensure that “all legally married same-sex spouses have equal access to the Social Security and veterans benefits they have earned.” In 2015, Paul voted against an amendment that would “establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to ensuring all legally married same-sex spouses have equal access to the Social Security and veterans benefits they have earned and receive equal treatment under the law pursuant to the Constitution of the United States.” The Senate adopted the proposed amendment to the Senate’s FY 2016 budget resolution by a vote of 57 to 43, and later passed the amended resolution. [Senate roll call vote 121, 3/26/15; S. Amdt. 1063 to S. Con. Res. 11, 3/26/15]

VA Funding

Ted Cruz voted against providing $27 million for the Veterans Health Administration, as part of a $50.5 billion Superstorm Sandy recovery package. In January 2013, Paul voted against a bill that, according to Congressional Quarterly, included provisions that “appropriate[d] the following amounts: […] Department of Veterans Affairs —$27 million through fiscal 2014 for the Veterans Health Administration, including $21 million for medical services and $6 million for medical facilities expenses. —$1.1 million for the National Cemetery Administration. —$531,000 for information technology systems. —$207 million for major construction projects through fiscal 2017.” The provisions were part of a larger bill that, according to Congressional Quarterly, “provide[d] about $50.5 billion for communities hit by Superstorm Sandy. Nearly all funding [was] designated as emergency spending exempt from discretionary caps, except for $5.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund.” The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 62 to 36; and, because the House had already approved the bill, it was then sent to the president, who signed it into law. [Senate roll call vote 4, 1/28/13; Congressional Quarterly, 1/28/13; Congressional Actions, H.R. 152; Congressional Quarterly, 1/30/13]

 

Lindsey Graham

VA Funding

Lindsey Graham voted against providing $27 million for the Veterans Health Administration, as part of a $50.5 billion Superstorm Sandy recovery package. In January 2013, Graham voted against a bill that, according to Congressional Quarterly, included provisions that “appropriate[d] the following amounts: […] Department of Veterans Affairs —$27 million through fiscal 2014 for the Veterans Health Administration, including $21 million for medical services and $6 million for medical facilities expenses. —$1.1 million for the National Cemetery Administration. —$531,000 for information technology systems. —$207 million for major construction projects through fiscal 2017.” The provisions were part of a larger bill that, according to Congressional Quarterly, “provide[d] about $50.5 billion for communities hit by Superstorm Sandy. Nearly all funding [was] designated as emergency spending exempt from discretionary caps, except for $5.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund.” The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 62 to 36; and, because the House had already approved the bill, it was then sent to the president, who signed it into law. [Senate roll call vote 4, 1/28/13; Congressional Quarterly, 1/28/13; Congressional Actions, H.R. 152; Congressional Quarterly, 1/30/13]

Military Service

Lindsey Graham claimed to be “an Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm veteran, although he never got closer to the war than McEntire Air National Guard Base near Columbia where he was a military lawyer.” “U.S. Rep. Lindsey Graham’s military service record has been called into question because the Republican congressman, who never went overseas, calls himself as a Gulf War veteran. Graham’s Internet web site biography lists him as an Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm veteran, although he never got closer to the war than McEntire Air National Guard Base near Columbia where he was a military lawyer. Graham, who said Wednesday he never intended to mislead people, processed wills for soldiers deploying to the Gulf and helped their family members with legal issues.” [Associated Press, 2/19/98]

 

Bobby Jindal

Education

Bobby Jindal was “one of the most vocal supporters of for-profit schools.” “Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has been one of the most vocal supporters of for-profit schools, opposing the president’s ‘gainful employment’ rule. He wrote in a column for the Washington Examiner, ‘The first programs to disappear under the ‘gainful employment’ regulations will be the ones that try to give Americans their first rung on the higher education and career ladders … It is tantamount to redlining educational opportunities for low-income and minority youths.’ His brother, Nikesh Jindal, is an attorney at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLC, represents the schools’ association, The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities.” [Think Progress, 4/30/15]

  • For-profit colleges sought to enroll military members “often in ways that are not in the best interests of veterans and service members.” “As a beefier post-9/11 GI Bill has kicked in, a surge of service members has left the ranks armed with benefits that will cover the full cost of attending public college. In 2009, the for-profits took in almost as much military money as public colleges, even though they enrolled about one-third the number of vets. Spending on military education benefits has shot up to $10 billion; for-profit schools’ share of that money has gone up 600 percent, as revealed in a recent PBS Frontline exposé. For example, at Kaplan—owned by the Washington Post Co.—military revenues grew to an estimated $48.9 million last year, up from $2.6 million in 2006. The result has been a bonanza for schools’ executives and shareholders. ‘We didn’t foresee that the for-profit sector, eager to please Wall Street investors, would go after this new funding aggressively, often in ways that are not in the best interests of veterans and service members,’ stated Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) after leading an investigation into 30 major for-profits earlier this year. Or as one University of Phoenix alum put it on RipoffReport.com, the school ‘treats military students like cash piñatas.’” [Mother Jones, September/October 2011]

 

Rand Paul

Education

Rand Paul voted to block further action on a bill that would have enhanced benefits for veterans including guaranteeing in-state tuition rates at all public universities for post-9/11 veterans. “Senate Republicans derailed efforts to move forward with a $21 billion bill to enhance health care, education and job benefits for veterans. Republicans stopped the veterans bill from moving on a procedural vote, which needed 60 votes. The final tally was 56-41. Republicans and Democrats normally agree on the need to enhance benefits for the nation’s 22 million veterans and their families, but Republican senators wanted to lower the amount of spending in the bill… The bill would have improved benefits for veterans, including better health care and dental services provided by the VA. It also would have guaranteed post-9/11 veterans access to in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities in any state.” [ABC News, 2/27/14; S. 1928, 2/3/14]

Spousal Benefits

Rand Paul voted against legislation that would ensure that “all legally married same-sex spouses have equal access to the Social Security and veterans benefits they have earned.” In 2015, Paul voted against an amendment that would “establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to ensuring all legally married same-sex spouses have equal access to the Social Security and veterans benefits they have earned and receive equal treatment under the law pursuant to the Constitution of the United States.” The Senate adopted the proposed amendment to the Senate’s FY 2016 budget resolution by a vote of 57 to 43, and later passed the amended resolution. [Senate roll call vote 121, 3/26/15; S. Amdt. 1063 to S. Con. Res. 11, 3/26/15]

VA Funding

Rand Paul voted against providing $27 million for the Veterans Health Administration, as part of a $50.5 billion Superstorm Sandy recovery package. In January 2013, Paul voted against a bill that, according to Congressional Quarterly, included provisions that “appropriate[d] the following amounts: […] Department of Veterans Affairs —$27 million through fiscal 2014 for the Veterans Health Administration, including $21 million for medical services and $6 million for medical facilities expenses. —$1.1 million for the National Cemetery Administration. —$531,000 for information technology systems. —$207 million for major construction projects through fiscal 2017.” The provisions were part of a larger bill that, according to Congressional Quarterly, “provide[d] about $50.5 billion for communities hit by Superstorm Sandy. Nearly all funding [was] designated as emergency spending exempt from discretionary caps, except for $5.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund.” The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 62 to 36; and, because the House had already approved the bill, it was then sent to the president, who signed it into law. [Senate roll call vote 4, 1/28/13; Congressional Quarterly, 1/28/13; Congressional Actions, H.R. 152; Congressional Quarterly, 1/30/13]

Rand Paul effectively voted against considering the $142 billion FY 2012 Veterans Affairs, Military Construction, Military Housing and Related Programs appropriations bill. In July 2011, Paul effectively voted against considering a bill that, according to the Congressional Quarterly Today, “would provide $142 billion in fiscal 2012 for the Department of Veterans Affairs, military construction, military housing and related operations. The bill also includes $52.5 billion in advance fiscal 2013 appropriations for VA medical programs.” The vote was on a motion to end debate on the motion to proceed to consider the bill; the Senate agreed to end debate by a vote of 89 to 11. The bill later passed the Senate, and after the House agreed nearly five months later, the bill was committed to a conference committee. The resulting conference report passed both the House and Senate and was signed into law by the president on December 23, 2011. [Senate roll call vote 109, 7/13/11; Congressional Quarterly Today, All Congressional Actions, H.R. 2055; H.R. 2055, 5/31/11]

 

Scott Walker

Education

Scott Walker proposed reducing funding for a program that reimbursed tuition for veterans. “Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget reduces funding for a tuition reimbursement program used by veterans. Some Democrats on the Joint Finance Committee are concerned and have written to the secretary of veterans affairs. The Veterans Education Reimbursement Grant program, also known as VetEd, reimburses students for tuition and fees after they’ve completed school. […] The governor’s proposal reduces funding in the VetEd program by $750,000 in the first year of the biennial budget.” [Wisconsin Public Radio, 3/20/15]

Health Care

Scott Walker refused to veto legislation that would curtail asbestos lawsuits despite veterans groups urging him to reject the measure.  “Veterans opposed to a bill curtailing asbestos lawsuits are standing down on their efforts to persuade Gov. Scott Walker to reject the measure after an aide to the governor told a leader of a veterans group there is no way to stop it.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/24/14]

  • Veterans groups were “extremely disappointed” by Walker’s actions. “‘We’re extremely disappointed,’ said Jason Johns, the legislative officer for the Military Order of the Purple Heart of Wisconsin. ‘We’re not necessarily going to forget about it.’” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/24/14]

Two Walker Aides Were Found Guilty Of Embezzling From A Veterans Charity

Tim Russell

Russell was part of “a tight circle of political friends to then-Milwaukee county executive Scott Walker”, was known “as one of walker’s top lieutenants.” “Tim Russell pushed hard to make it in politics, making his first run for office as a 19-year-old south sider looking to break in as a Milwaukee alderman. That drive continued over three decades: unsuccessful bids for city and state office; deep involvement in Republican causes and campaigns; and a series of appointed posts that culminated in rising to a tight circle of political friends to then-Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker before Walker’s election as governor in 2010. Russell, 48, was known at the courthouse as one of Walker’s top lieutenants as he moved in and out of campaign jobs, posts in Walker’s county office, other county jobs and his own real estate business. He worked on Walker’s campaigns for county executive but also popped up in informal roles on campaigns of conservative County Board candidates who had Walker’s support.” [Journal Sentinel, 1/8/12]

  • 2010: Russell worked as Walker’s deputy chief of staff and housing director; held six other county posts under Walker; knew Walker since the late 1980s. “Russell worked as Walker’s deputy chief of staff and housing director in 2010, Walker’s last year as Milwaukee County executive. Russell held six other county posts under Walker earlier and has known the governor since the late 1980s.” [Journal Sentinel, 11/29/12]

November 2012: Timothy D. Russell pled guilty to embezzling over $21,000 from a veterans’ nonprofit. “Timothy D. Russell, a former aide to Gov. Scott Walker, pleaded guilty Thursday to embezzling more than $21,000 from a nonprofit group that raised money for veterans. Prosecutors charged Russell, 49, in January with stealing from a nonprofit that Walker assigned him to lead to raise funds for veterans and the annual Operation Freedom picnic the governor hosted while he was Milwaukee County executive.” [Journal Sentinel, 11/29/12]

Kevin Kavanaugh

Kavanaugh was Walker’s appointee to the Milwaukee County Veteran Service Commission. According to The Associated Press State & Local Wire, “Kevin Kavanaugh, Walker’s appointee to the Milwaukee County Veteran Service Commission, was charged with one felony embezzlement charge of taking more than $10,000 from a business and four felony counts of fraudulent writings by a corporate officer.” [The Associated Press State & Local Wire, 1/5/12]

January 2012: Kevin Kavanaugh was charged with five felonies for theft and fraudulent writings by a corporate officer; prosecutors said he stole more than $42,000 in donations intended to families of US service members killed or wounded in Iraq. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Kavanaugh, 61, of Cudahy, is charged with five felonies for theft and fraudulent writings by a corporate officer. He was the treasurer of the Milwaukee Purple Heart chapter at the time of the dispute over the $11,000 for Operation Freedom. Prosecutors say he stole more than $42,000 in donations intended to families of U.S. service members killed or wounded in Iraq.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1/5/12]

  • Kevin Kavanaugh was found guilty for stealing $51,000 in donations to veterans groups. According to The Associated Press, “One of Gov. Scott Walker’s former associates was found guilty Friday of stealing more than $51,000 that had been donated to help veterans and their families. Prosecutors alleged that Kevin Kavanaugh, of Cudahy, skimmed the money from bank deposits and phony withdrawals from accounts for the Military Order of the Purple Heart, a veterans service organization. Kavanaugh was treasurer of the group.” [Associated Press, 10/12/12]