Togo to go
Secretary of Veterans Affairs announces resignation
July 9, 1999
Web posted at: 3:02 p.m. EDT (1902 GMT)
SARATOGA SPRINGS, New York (AllPolitics, July 9) -- Togo West, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, has confirmed to CNN that he will resign his post.
West said he would eventually step down but would not offer a time frame. He added that he wanted to continue finishing budget details for the year 2001. West, 58, also indicated that at his age he felt it was time to move on.
West's announcement comes on the heels of media reports of his resignation. Senior administration officials said there has been dissatisfaction within the Clinton Adminstration regarding West's performance. And veterans groups and lawmakers from both parties have criticized the secretary for failing to secure what they consider an adequate veterans budget from the White House. West has also come under scrutiny for what some call excessive use of travel funds.
An administration official also confirmed to CNN that Vice President Al Gore was among those concerned about West's performance, but says that a published report about Gore's involvement was exaggerated.
The Washington Post on Thursday quoted veterans sources as saying Gore may have had a hand in West's departure. The vice president, according to the Post's sources, was concerned veterans' groups might take out their anger at West on Gore's presidential campaign.
West's resignation will likely to return control of the VA to the hands of Deputy Secretary Hershel Gober.
Gober, an Arkansas friend of President Bill Clinton, was the president's first choice to run the department following the 1997 departure of then-Veterans Affairs Secretary Jesse Brown. Gober withdrew his name from nomination after charges of sexual harassment were made against him, though he denied any wrongdoing.
West is a former Army secretary and Washington lobbyist.