Copy-Justice Dept. backs fired VA official in legal challenge


Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Justice Department is siding with a legal argument by fired Veterans Affairs official who was at the center of a nationwide scandal over long wait times for veterans seeking medical care and secret lists covering up the delays.

Sharon Helman is former director of the Phoenix VA Health Care System. Helman is suing the VA to win her old job back. She argues in court papers that a key portion of a 2014 law passed in response to the scandal is unconstitutional, denying her right to appeal her firing.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch says in a letter to Congress that the Justice Department has decided not to contest that element of Helman's challenge, essentially agreeing with her legal position. Lynch says Justice still will fight against her reinstatement.

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