“I have determined that it is in the best interest of my constituents and my family to end my time in Congress at the end of this year and not seek re-election,” she said in a Facebook post. “Too many women have been harmed by harassment in the workplace. In the terrible situation in my office, I could have and should have done better.”
The demands come following a News 3 investigation into an incident in April where a Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs employee, using a federal VA.gov email address, sent an email with the Social Security numbers of hundreds of Wisconsin veterans to a random citizen. News 3 has learned the email that contained the disability claims of Wisconsin veterans was sent unredacted and unencrypted at least three other times since June 2014 to people who weren’t authorized by the VA to view that material….
“I am concerned that the federal VA seems to lack proper information technology and software protocols to protect veterans’ private health information,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) wrote in a statement to News 3 [pdf]. “I am particularly concerned that this seemingly isolated incident in Wisconsin could potentially be part of a much larger nationwide problem.”
….”Our office has raised a number of questions with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald about the VA’s implementation of tools to protect veterans’ personally identifiable information,” wrote Meghan Roh, spokeswoman for Sen. Tammy Baldwin, (D-Wis.), in an email to News 3 [pdf]. “We look forward to getting answers from the VA so that veterans can be assured the VA is doing everything possible to protect their private information from unintended disclosure.”
Johnson gave VA staff until Nov. 11 to respond to numerous questions. He said the issue fell under the purview of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs that he heads…..
Combined, the four data reports contained the disability claim numbers of nearly 2,000 Wisconsin veterans. An open records request to learn who received the emails from June 1, 2014-April 1, 2015, has not been answered by the WDVA.
“The WDVA has tightened protocols regarding privacy to safeguard sensitive information,” Vigue wrote. “We no longer share the report in question.”
The internal investigation recommended Michalowski and his subordinate, Colin Overstreet, who actually sent the email, be suspended for one day. Both have since left their positions at the WDVA. Neither Michalowski nor Overstreet agreed to comment on what happened.
Multiple requests for an on-camera interview with Scocos were denied. An on-camera interview with his deputy, Kathy Marschman, was canceled less than two hours before it was scheduled. In a meeting to discuss an interview, Marschman said protecting the personally identifiable information of Wisconsin veterans was one of the department’s top priorities, but a review of the department’s 2015-16 strategic plan does not mention that.