An investigation concluded that former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin violated ethics rules by allowing his driver to provide transportation for his wife, the VA inspector general said in a report Thursday. The investigation cleared him of other allegations that he misused his security detail for shopping and other errands. Investigators determined Shulkin permitted his driver to transport his wife on several occasions, in one case to a train station in a government vehicle when he was on duty, and in other cases, in his personal vehicle on his own time. Federal ethics rules bar employees from accepting gifts from subordinate staff, and the inspector general concluded that the personal transportation services qualify as a gift. “Secretary Shulkin was aware that these services, which benefited him at least indirectly, were being offered to his wife,” the inspector general’s report said. “Accordingly, he had an ethical obligation to decline the gift.” The investigation was triggered by complaints that Shulkin improperly used agents during trips to Home Depot, when house-hunting, and to a furniture store in the weeks after he took office in February 2017.
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