Because the Army has refused to release investigations related to treatment of Oregon National Guardsmen at Madigan Army Medical Center, the senior U.S. senator from Oregon is holding up a nominee for a government post.
It’s unlikely you’ve ever heard of the person being held up, or the job she would fill. But Sen. Ron Wyden is determined to make a point.
Wyden sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday, telling his fellow Democrat that he was putting a hold on the nomination of Jo Ann Rooney as principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
Wyden continues to have concerns about how Guardsmen from his state were cared for last year when they were demobilizing at the medical center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord after returning from a combat tour in Iraq. The Army investigated complaints that the soldiers were deemed malingerers, treated unequally compared to active-duty soldiers and given substandard care.
The investigations are complete but the Army has not fully released them, claiming they are quality assurance documents and thus exempt from disclosure.
Wyden is unhappy that he hasn’t been allowed to see the investigations, and he wrote, in part:
… until I am satisfied that the Army has conducted a proper investigation of the incidents at JBLM, is working to resolve any problems that exist, and that Ms. Rooney will work to ensure that all servicemembers receive the care and benefits they have earned, I cannot allow Ms. Rooney’s nomination to proceed.
The News Tribune has filed public records requests for the documents in question, and published a story about the little information that was released.