Ex-VA Nominee Ronny Jackson Now Officially Under DoD Investigation

In this April 2, 2018, file photo, White House physician and nominee for Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. Ronny Jackson arrives at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
In this April 2, 2018, file photo, White House physician and nominee for Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. Ronny Jackson arrives at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The Department of Defense Inspector General's office confirmed Monday that an investigation has begun into the allegations that derailed President Donald Trump's nomination of Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson to become VA Secretary.

Allegations of drinking on the job and other misconduct by Jackson, Trump's personal physician and head of the White House medical unit, have also held up Jackson's promotion to two-star rank.

A one-line statement from the Defense Department confirmed that "The DoD Office of Inspector General has initiated an investigation into allegations related to Rear Admiral (Lower Half) Ronny L. Jackson."

The allegations against Jackson were first raised by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, ranking member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, who said the concerns about Jackson came from current and former co-workers.

Jackson later withdrew his name from consideration to replace Dr. David Shulkin as head of the Department of Veterans Affairs. He then returned to the White House medical unit.

Trump said at the time that Tester, who is up for re-election in November, would have a "big price to pay" for scuttling the nomination.

The nomination of Jackson came as a surprise. And Trump acted unexpectedly again last month by naming Robert Wilkie, the acting VA Secretary, to take a permanent post as head of the government's second largest organization, after the Defense Department.

Wilkie had been serving as the Pentagon's under secretary for Personnel and Readiness when he was moved over to the VA.

Last week, the VA said that Wilkie was stepping down as acting secretary to get around a section of the U.S. Code barring an acting secretary from taking the permanent post.

VA Chief of Staff Peter O'Rourke is temporarily stepping in as acting secretary pending Wilkie's Senate confirmation hearing. A date for that hearing has yet to be set.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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