Conservative veterans group buys ad against NC Sen. Kay Hagan


McClatchy Washington Bureau

A nonprofit advocacy group, Concerned Veterans for America, released an online ad on Wednesday that claims that Sen. Kay Hagan has “done nothing” to hold the Department of Veterans Affairs accountable for allegations that it masked long waits for health care.

Hagan is a Democrat in a tight race for re-election in North Carolina, one of a handful of states that could determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the Senate next year.

Concerned Veterans for America is a conservative group that is not required under tax law to disclose its donors. It says its purpose is to “advocate for policies that will preserve freedom and liberty.”

The ad argues that President Barack Obama “won’t hold the VA accountable” and that “Sen. Kay Hagan can but she’s done nothing.”

The ad urges viewers to tell North Carolina’s Democratic senator to co-sponsor the VA Management and Accountability Act.

Hagan announced on Twitter on Wednesday that she supports the bill.

The legislation would make it easier for Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and subsequent secretaries to fire or demote high-ranking civilian federal employees for negligence or mismanagement. Rules currently make it difficult to fire these civil servants.

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed it earlier this month. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced the legislation in the Senate.

Hagan recently called for an investigation to determine the extent of the medical scheduling problem and hold those responsible for it accountable. After the Veterans Affairs Department inspector general released an interim report on Wednesday, she called for Shinseki to resign.

Her office pointed out other work she has done for veterans in the past year, including pressing the VA to work through its backlog of claims and working to restore military pension cost-of-living reductions.

The Washington Post and the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics identified Concerned Veterans for America as one of the conservative groups funded by a donor network organized by the brothers Charles and David Koch. Another Koch-backed group, Americans for Prosperity, took out $8.3 million in ads against Hagan over her support for the Affordable Care Act..

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