The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee minority staff released a two-page memo Wednesday detailing allegations made against VA secretary nominee Ronny Jackson.
Conversations with 23 colleagues and former colleagues of Rear Admiral Jackson, most of whom are
still in uniform, have raised serious concerns about Jacksonas temperament and ethics, and cast doubt on
his ability to lead the second largest agency in government and one tasked with the sacred mission of
fulfilling our commitment to the men and women who have served our nation in uniform and their
Those concerns are best captured under the following three topics:
Multiple individuals cited the nickname aCandymana used by WH staff because he would provide
whatever prescriptions they sought without paperwork.
Physicians, physician assistants, and nurses have described a pattern of handing out Ambien (to
sleep) and Provigil (to wake up) without triaging patient history (no intakes, no questionnaires) on
Air Force One. These are controlled substances that require tracking.
Jackson would have been the prescriber though he also directed nurses to dispense them.
The White House Medical Unit (WHMU) had questionable record keeping for pharmaceuticals so it
is tough to account for all controlled substances with perfect accuracy. Only after-the-fact would
Jackson account for pills or provide paper records to account for shortages. For example, missing
Percocet (used for pain) tabs once threw WHMU into a panic. It turned out Jackson had provided a
large supply to a White House Military Office (WHMO) staffer. Jackson also had private stocks of
A nurse noted that Jackson wrote himself scripts. When caught, he had someone else (his PA) do it.
Jackson prescribed medications when other physicians would not.
Physicians felt uncomfortable and refused to be a part of the loose dispensing of drugs to current and
former WH staff (and at times, their family members).
Jackson would have staff write scripts for each other to give to non-beneficiaries.
To protect one beneficiary, a prescription for a sleep aid was written for another provider rather than
Lack of documentation was difficult for one practitioner because that practitioner would not know
the full array of medications taken by a patient when they came to that practitioner for assistance.
A physician stated that Jackson has been lucky because his prescribing practices are reckless.
A provider noted WHMU purchases pharmaceuticals from an on-line retailer, separate from Walter
Reed, which enables WHMU to prescribe controlled substances without accounting through Walter
Reed, which should be the sole supplier.
Individuals cite inquiries by the Navy Surgeon General and WHMO into these issues, as well as a
DOD IG submission related to ineligible personnel receiving care at Walter Reed in the Presidentas
Wing. Outlined in that document are concerns about WHMOas ability to be objective on matters
related to Admiral Jackson. Mentioned in that complaint was a previous investigation by WHMO
about dispensing of controlled substances.
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HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT
Individuals noted a constant fear of reprisal. Specific examples that would identify the individuals
concerned have been provided to Committee staff but are not provided here to protect their
Jackson was described as athe most unethical person I have ever worked witha, aflat-out unethicala,
aexplosivea, a100 percent bad tempera, atoxica, aabusivea, avolatilea, aincapable of not losing his
tempera, athe worst officer I have ever served witha, adespicablea, adishonesta, as having
ascreaming tantrumsa and ascreaming fitsa, as someone who would alose his mind over small
thingsa, avindictivea, abelittlinga, athe worse leader Iave ever worked for.a Day-to-day
environment was like awalking on eggshells.a As Jackson gained power he became aintolerable.a
One physician said, aI have no faith in government that someone like Jackson could be end up at
VA.a A nurse stated, athis [working at WHMU] should have been the highlight of my military
career but it was my worst assignment.a Another stated that working at WHMU was the aworst
experience of my life.a
Jackson was viewed as someone who awould roll over anyonea, aworked his way up on the backs of
othersa, awas a suck up to those above him and abusive to those below hima, a akiss up, kick down
bossa, aput his needs above everyone elseas.a
Individuals believe the Navyas Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) and White House
Counselas Office looked into these issues.
Multiple incidents of drunkenness on duty were described to Committee staff. Several of these
incidents involve overseas travel. These incidents are not described here to protect the identities of
When aon dutya or aholding the medical baga, Jackson was required to be on call at a momentas
notice in the event of a health issue with the President. On several occasions, Jackson would reach
for athe baga while intoxicated to show he was in charge. On at least one occasion, Dr. Jackson
could not be reached when needed because he was passed out drunk in his hotel room.
At a Secret Service going away party, Jackson got drunk and wrecked a government vehicle.
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