* * O P E N L E T T E R * * *
October 17, 2000
From: The National Veterans Organization
Veterans Due Process, Inc.
Alabama Street PO
Box 640064 Portland,
Paso, TX 79904-0064 Phone:
(915) 759-8387 Email:
To: Vice President Albert Gore, Jr., 601 Mainstream Drive,
Nashville, TN 37228
Governor George W. Bush, Jr., P.O. Box 1902, Austin, TX 78767-1902
Ralph Nader, P.O. Box 18002, Washington, DC 20036
Pat Buchanan, 6862 Elm St., Suite 210, McLean, VA 22101
Harry Browne, P.O. Box 2347, Arlington, VA 22202
John Hagelin, P.O. Box 1900, Fairfield, IA 52556
Howard Phillips, 23 North Lime St., Lancaster, PA 17602
SUBJECT: OMISSION IN ELECTION "ISSUE STATEMENTS"
Dear Presidential Candidate:
Texas-based National Veterans Organization
(NVO) and Oregon-based Veterans for Due Process, Inc. (VDPI), are presently
involved in a Billboard and Truth campaign across America, designed
to reveal to the American people and, in particular the 39+ sailors
injured in the attack on the USS Cole, important matters, which are
not covered in your "Issues Statements." The primary issue
we bring to your attention is the longstanding policy of the United
States Veterans Administration (VA), to ignore the Rule of Law, and
thereby break the promises that this country has made to those who served
and sacrificed for it. [Attachment
Under existing federal law, Veterans injured
in the military cannot appeal the wrongful denial of their claims by
the Veterans Administration to United States District Courts, nor do
they have the right to hire attorneys to represent them before VA Regional
Offices or the Board of Veterans Appeals, even at their own expense.
These are fundamental protections of the American system of justice
and the U.S. Constitution, which these soldiers were injured defending,
and that are available to claimants before other Federal agencies. NVO
and VDP have recently caused the attached article and Billboard photo
to appear in both the August 3, 2000, Washington Post newspaper and
The Stars and Stripes, etc. This substantial media focus bears witness
to the profound seriousness of this national problem, as do the ever
increasing number of similar Billboards now being erected throughout
America. They graphically illustrate an issue whose time has come to
be dealt with.
Additionally, it is now well documented
by court decisions, official records, and news reports, such as an ABC
News 20/20 story on June 2, 2000, that two VA attorneys have been sent
to prison for altering and destroying evidence in VA disability claims
appeals. These criminal acts were committed in order to keep claims
approvals below economic quotas, the reward for which was large cash
bonuses for the attorneys convicted of destroying the records. The continuing
crime, is the VA system, which continues to allow the ongoing quota
and bonus policies, thereby maintaining a system that will continue
to break the promises to those who have faithfully served their country.
Incredibly, a recent letter from the Executive Office of the President,
Office of Management and Budget (OMB), told the VA to hide this "grim
picture of service to veterans" from Congress and the Public. [Attachment
The following issues are vital to our
organizations, our country's defense interests, and to all Americans.
Please provide your answers to the following questions so that we can
let concerned citizens know how you feel, prior to their vote on election
1. The Veterans Administration Does Not
Obey The "RULE OF LAW"
Chief Judge Frank Q. Nebeker of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans
Claims (CAVC), which is a "specialty" non-judicial branch
court established by Congress in 1988 for Veterans only, has continuously
denounced at the Judicial Conferences of his Court, VA system-wide refusal
to obey the Rule of Law , as in his October 17, 1994 "State of
the Court." [Attachment C]
Significantly, the "specialty" CAVC court does not use its
existing fine and imprisonment powers to force VA and its attorneys
to obey the law. Do you agree that the Rule of Law should also apply
to the VA's processing of veterans' claims, and if so, what would you
do to ensure that this is done, if elected President?
2. America's Judicial Branch U.S. District
Courts Are Closed To Veterans
The VA is able to ignore the law and deprive veterans of due process
because of a federal law that denies veterans with VA disability claims,
access to U.S. District Courts , which do not tolerate VA contempt for
the law. If elected President, would you support legislation to make
the VA accountable to U.S. District Courts, by supporting the repeal
of existing federal law that has closed the doors of the courts to veterans?
3. Veterans Are Denied The Right To Representation By An Attorney
In 1988, Congress passed a law which prohibits attorneys from charging
veterans a fee, and thereby effectively precludes a veteran's right
to obtain representation concerning VA claims before all VA Regional
Offices. If elected President, would you support legislation eliminating
the prohibition, thereby permitting veterans the freedom to have their
own attorneys represent them in VA claims?
4. VA Quotas And Bonuses Breed Lawlessness.
VA attorneys recently sent to prison for destroying and altering veterans
records in order to deny meritorious claims, told the sentencing courts
that they were motivated by a desire to appear more productive, and
thereby eligible for "bigger" bonuses under present federal
incentive programs, which reward "cost efficiency" and "productivity."
If elected president, would you support legislation to repeal such quota
and bonus programs at the VA?
5. The VA Exercises Inordinate Influence
Over Veteran Service Organizations
News reports reveal that during 1986, in order to neutralize Veterans'
Service Organizations' (VSOs) increasing support for then pending Congressional
Bills to make VA accountable to the Rule of Law, the VA "threatened"
that if the Bill became law, VA might "curtail" the free office
space, telephone service, postage, etc., provided to VSOs by the VA
Administrator on a "discretionary" basis. The VSOs yielded
to that threat by letter to Congress dated June 30, 1986. If elected
President, would you support legislation to eliminate such discretion
from existing VA law, and require VA to provide such facilities to chartered
VSOs, as a matter of right?
Thank you for your response. The American
people should know how you intend to support those who have served and
sacrificed for their country.
Very Truly Yours,
Douglas McArthur Philip E. Cushman
Executive Director Executive Director
National Veterans Organization of America, Inc. Veterans Due Process,
A. Washington Post & Stars and Stripes articles concerning Billboards
B. OMB letter to VA from Toni S. Hustead, Chief, Veterans Affairs Branch,
dated January 24, 1997. The Veterans Advocate, Nov.-Dec 1996, Vol.8,
C. "State of the Court" by Chief Judge Frank Q. Nebeker, U.S.
Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, 3rd Judicial Conference - October