Duckworth defends her work, responds to Walsh’s attack - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Duckworth defends her work, responds to Walsh’s attack

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth is defending her work at two different veterans' agencies after Rep. Joe Walsh said that she wasted taxpayer dollars. He and other House Republicans are demanding an investigation.

Walsh's attack on Duckworth comes two days after the resignation of another former Assistant Secretary at the Veterans Administration. An Inspector General blamed Walsh, in part, for outrageous overspending at two conferences in Florida last year. There's no such report on Duckworth and now she's defending a $2 million event she oversaw in Hawaii.

Tuesday evening, Tammy Duckworth greeted veterans and their relatives at a military family support group in Schaumburg. Here, she wanted to respond to questions being raised by Congressman Joe Walsh about Duckworth's role in the Golden Games in Honolulu last year -- an event that attracted about 900 older, disabled veterans.

"A million dollars, Mike Flannery, to a party planner for a Hawaii trip, when you've got veterans right now who're waiting a year or two to get their claims; when the unemployment rate among veterans is higher than the population at large, " Rep. Joe Walsh said.

Duckworth said the Golden Games cost $2.5 million -- partly paid by private donations -- because the 900 disabled participants required special support as they swam, shot air rifles and played golf. While the bill at the posh Hawaiian Village resort totaled a half-million dollars, Duckworth insisted everyone there was working.

"People who stayed at the hotel were there to help support the veterans," Duckworth explained. "They were everyone from people who were fixing wheel chairs to people providing medical services to people who were actually providing assistive support to veterans. And it's really cynical of Mr. Walsh to take what is really an amazing program that gets veterans out of their hospital beds and try to twist it for his own political gain."

Tammy Duckworth said Joe Walsh is wrong to compare the Golden Games in Hawaii to two scandal scarred conferences in Orlando sponsored by the VA. Those two events cost $5 million and an inspector general documented ridiculous overspending there, including a $52,000 expenditure on a General George Patton look-alike. Walsh said House GOP investigators would look into the Hawaii event trying to find something similar.

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