Thursday, May 21, 2015
CONTACT: Amy Runyon-Harms, Executive Director at [email protected]

DENVER: As the possibility of yet another work stoppage at the construction site for the new VA Medical Center in Aurora caused controversy ahead of Memorial Day Weekend, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, called on Rep. Mike Coffman, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, to disclose all correspondence to and from his office regarding the Aurora VA hospital project since taking office in 2009.

“One thing we all agree on is that the new VA hospital project to serve Colorado veterans is a complete disaster,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “Politicians from Denver to Washington, D.C. are pointing fingers at each other, but the problems with this construction project are not new. Mike Coffman is in charge of the congressional committee overseeing this project. It’s time to ask the hard question: why did Coffman do almost nothing to solve these problems despite knowing about them for years?”

A recent report from ProgressNow Colorado found Coffman has known for years that the Aurora VA hospital project was in serious trouble, but has done virtually nothing to fix the problem. ProgressNow Colorado reviewed hundreds of pages of testimony from Congressional hearings, official government reports, and numerous media outlets, determining that Coffman waited over a year to push for management changes recommended by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Coffman knew that the Aurora VA hospital project would exceed a billion dollars as far back as 2013.

“We call on Coffman to release all correspondence to or from his office regarding the Aurora VA hospital project, going back as long as he has served in Congress,” said Runyon-Harms. “Coffman’s own Republican leadership is to blame for threatening to shut down construction yet again. Coffman is using this situation for a political grandstand against the Obama administration, but his job for years has been to oversee the project. It’s time for Coffman to disclose everything he knew about the problems that led to this project going wildly over budget–and why he has done so little to meaningfully address them. Our vets deserve answers from everyone who contributed to this disaster, and whether he likes it or not, that includes Mike Coffman.”