Grapevine: More alleged corruption at the VA comes to light

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine…

What Are Friends For?

A former senior official at Veteran's Affairs is accused of steering millions of dollars' worth of work to friends and obstructing the investigation into the matter.

The Inspector General found Iris Cooper improperly awarded more than $15 million worth of contracts to a company partially owned by a friend.

It gets worse. Cooper no longer works at the VA. She is now the senior procurement official at the Treasury Department, handling more than $5 billion in federal contracts.

She left the VA before the IG's investigation was finished, so no punishment has been recommended.

Cooper's lawyer tells The Washington Times she strongly disagrees with the IG report.

Healthy Amount of Cash

You and your fellow Americans have spent more than a billion dollars not to find out how environmental factors affect children's health.

The National Institutes of Health is finally pulling the plug on the study -- 10 years and $1.3 billion later -- after concluding that it would not work.

The study was supposed to track 100,000 children from birth to age 21, but never got off the ground.
The past 14 years were spent trying to design a model to make the study feasible -- a goal that was never achieved.

According to Investors Businesses Daily, warnings about the program have been raised in the past.
President Bush tried to kill the study, only to have Congress fund it anyway.

The NIH director says even though the study has been canceled, the goal of looking at the effects of environmental factors on children is worthwhile.

Gateway Crime

We do not normally do local police blotter reports on the Grapevine, but tonight -- a seemingly minor break-in at a Saint Louis convenience store.

Saint Louis is of course home to Anheuser-Busch, maker of the beverage marketed as "The King of Beers."

The Post-Dispatch newspaper reports a felony burglary charge against 18-year-old Bud Weisser. Court documents indicate young Mr. Weisser was seen climbing out of a broken window of the store at about 4:30 one morning.

So of course, for the Saint Louis County prosecutor: This Bud's for you.