NEW ULM - Republican challengers of First District Congressman Tim Walz criticized the Democratic incumbent for not doing enough to protect veterans in light of the Veterans Administration scandal.
The Walz Campaign responded by criticizing the Republican challengers for using the VA scandal to "score cheap political points."
Administrators in VA hospitals around the country are being investigated for allegedly falsifying admissions records to show veterans are being admitted within 14 days, while in reality some have waited much longer, so long that some 40 have reportedly died while waiting for services in Arizona.
Aaron Miller, endorsed in the First District Republican Convention, and Jim Hagedorn, who re-entered the Republican race as a primary challenger, both issued press releases this week attacking Walz for failing to protect veterans.
"Congressman Walz claims to be an advocate for veterans but the facts don't support that," said Miller.
"The buck stops with the members of Congress who we have entrusted to make sure that those who have served our country are being cared for at VA clinics and hospitals. Veterans are dying due to lack of treatment.
While Congressman Walz recently voted for the VA Accountability Act, he should have done more and much sooner. He must be held accountable because our veterans have sacrificed for our country and deserve better.
Hagedorn called on Walz to "accept responsibility for Department of Veterans Affairs program failures, including those that contributed to the deaths of veterans placed on secret waiting lists.
"Congressman Walz has served on the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs for almost 8 years and he has worked side-by-side on veterans issues with the Obama administration," said Hagedorn. "Walz is in the middle of these Obama veteran care disasters and must be held accountable."
Walz's campaign responded with a statement from Hank Sadler, Chair of Veterans for Walz:
"It's despicable that Republicans running for Congress would use veterans' lives in a blatant attempt to score cheap political points. They should be ashamed. Veterans are literally dying and these two guys would rather point fingers then do the actual work of getting to the bottom of what happened and making sure it never happens again. This is exactly what we don't need in Congress.
"Veterans throughout Minnesota know Representative Walz always has their back - that's why he went to the VA facilities in Minnesota to demand answers, that's why he's working proactively with Republican Chairman Jeff Miller to investigate these allegations and hold folks accountable, and that's why he's been honored and recognized as a top legislator in Congress for Veterans by National Organizations like AMVETS, the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Tim Walz won't ever stop fighting for veterans and their families. Without a doubt, Tim Walz is the Veterans best friend we have in Congress."