Democrats Push Fire VA CIO Over Trump Campaign Data Use

Democrats in the House and Senate are calling for the acting chief information officer of the Department of Veterans Affairs to be fired because of the work he did on the Trump campaign.

Camilo Sandoval was appointed the V.A.’s acting CIO last month. During the 2016 presidential campaign, he worked as then-candidate Donald Trump’s director of data operations. Because of the campaign’s contract with data firm Cambridge Analytica — which is under fire for misusing millions of Facebook users’ data for campaign purposes — Democratic lawmakers now want Sandoval out.

Eleven Democrats — six congressmen and five senators — sent a letter to Deputy VA Secretary Thomas Bowman this week, asking for Sandoval to be terminated.

After referencing the VA’s “malign neglect” to modernize veterans’ electronic health records, the lawmakers explained their reasons why Sandoval should no longer work at the department.

“This appointment raises serious data security concerns stemming from Mr. Sandoval’s previous position as the director of data operations in 2016 while the Trump campaign was contracting with Cambridge Analytica,” the letter reads.

“Cambridge Analytica’s misuse of personal information from tens of millions of Americans, including veterans, was an incredible breach of trust. As such, Mr. Sandoval’s role in these activities must be thoroughly examined, and he should be put nowhere near veterans’ health and benefits data.”

The letter went on to reference a $25 million lawsuit filed against Sandoval for slander, harassment, and sexual discrimination against another member of the Trump campaign. Politico reported on that lawsuit last month.

The VA employs more than 377,000 people and has been the subject of harsh criticism in recent years thanks to a waitlist scandal that resulted in dozens of veterans dying while waiting to see a doctor, poor sanitary conditions in VA facilities, and issues around company leadership. VA Secretary David Shulkin was fired in March and his replacement nominee was forced to withdraw his name from consideration after Democrats accused him of misconduct.

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