WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Matt Rosendale (MT-02) led a letter with his colleagues to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis R. McDonough regarding the department’s failure to protect personally identifiable information, specifically relating to COVID-19 vaccination status of its employees, medical students, and volunteers.
“This failure would never have happened if the VA had not mandated the COVID-19 vaccine for employees. The decision at the time was based on politics and not reputable science or veterans’ interests,” the letter stated. “As Secretary, you must do everything in your power to safeguard employees who had their personally identifiable information and religious convictions so carelessly handled. It is time to stop politicizing the VA and instead focus on ensuring our veterans receive the world-class benefits and services they have earned.”
The specific incident referred to in the letter allowed employees’ vaccination status to be accessed through the VA’s SharePoint with no password protection by hundreds of individuals. The VA has stated that they don’t know exactly how many people ultimately had access to this data and may still have a copy.
Congressman Rosendale was joined on the letter by Reps. Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Eric Burlison (MO-07), Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Mary Miller (IL-15), and Barry Moore (AL-02). Rosendale is currently serving his second term on the House Veterans Affairs Committee and previously served as the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Technology Modernization.
Read the full letter here.