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Arizona Senators Demand VA Secretary Shinseki Resign

Tracy Gree/KJZZ
U.S. Sen.Jeff Flake and John McCain at a Phoenix press conference in May 2014.

U.S. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake are demanding the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. They're also calling for a department of justice investigation into the scandal.

The announcement was made Wednesday after the VA’s inspector general confirmed that some VA wait time data had been manipulated. 

The report confirmed that about 1,700 veterans who were waiting for healthcare in Phoenix were not on an official waiting list. That means there was no way to figure out exactly how long they were waiting. The report also showed the average wait for primary care was 115 days, a number that far exceeds what the agency had reported.

McCain said there’s no proof that administrators like Shinseki directly knew about the data manipulation, but ignorance is not an excuse.

"We do know that the people in charge should know and the people in charge should be held responsible," he said. "Ignorance is not a rational for this kind of situation that has flourished for a number of years."

The senators say they will be releasing proposals for VA reform next week.

Carrie Jung Senior Field Correspondent, Education Desk Carrie Jung began her public radio career in Albuquerque, N.M., where she fell in love with the diverse cultural scene and unique political environment of the Southwest. Jung has been heard on KJZZ since 2013 when she served as a regular contributor to the Fronteras Desk from KUNM Albuquerque. She covered several major stories there including New Mexico's Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and Albuquerque's failed voter initiative to ban late-term abortions. Jung has also contributed stories about environmental and Native American issues to NPR's Morning Edition, PRI's The World, Al Jazeera America, WNYC's The Takeaway, and National Native News. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in marketing, both from Clemson University. When Jung isn't producing content for KJZZ she can usually be found buried beneath mounds of fabric and quilting supplies. She recently co-authored a book, "Sweet And Simple Sewing," with her mother and sister, who are fabric designers.