Financial scandal in the California National Guard

The national conversation this week has been largely about money — on both the state and national level. Our elected leaders are trying to balance their budgets and still provide basic services.

And while Wisconsin has got most of the media attention, other governors are making equally drastic decisions. We’ve seen governors propose massive cuts in education and Medicaid and refuse billions of federal dollars for transportation projects.

Against this backdrop, Need to Know brings you a Watch List investigation that may be especially galling to taxpayers everywhere. It involves alleged financial misconduct in the California National Guard. Several months ago, the Sacramento Bee detailed how millions of federal tax dollars may have been improperly paid out to members of the Guard.

Since the 9/11 attacks, California Guard soldiers and airmen have accounted for more than 26,000 overseas deployments. And about 1,000 are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. They perform vital services at war and at home. But hundreds of members may be ordered to pay back bonuses or other funds for which they were not entitled. Correspondent John Larson reports.

 
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Comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.a.smalley Stephen Allen Smalley

    I was aghast to hear the comment by the National Guard Bureau’s national director that “…even the PERCEPTION of…” impropriety would not be tolerated. Someone needs to tell him perception is of facts and he has no business threatening people not to see the facts! Hard to believe he could get away with such a statement unchallenged in the national media! With that level of stupidity at the top of the chain of command, no wonder there is so much corruption all the way down the line!

  • Blitzriver

    It never ceases to amaze me that a news organization can be prosecutor, jury and judge. In my opinion, the credibility of this story is hampered by a lack of supporting information and by not having waited for the results of official investigations. There may very well have been improper payments made but without due process it is simply unfair and improper to degrade the service of our men and women in uniform.

  • Prince4et

    This just shows how “stupid” folks who read the media without knowing all the facts are. And Mr. smalley, you fit that bill to a “T”

    There is definitely something that needs to be done about this, and the General in charge in California is doing her best to ensure it gets investigated and adjudicated properly. just because you don’t like what you heard does not give you the right to say there is corruption all the way down the line. I have been a member of the Guard for many years, and this is an exception….not the rule!!!

    Give the folks in charge a chance to make it right before you try and convict them!!!

    And I wonder….have YOU ever served? Don’t tarnish the reputation of a very proud and accomplished organization by exploiting information and making comments without knowing or even having all of the facts.

  • Anonymous

    Time to arrest every top ranking officer in the Guard.
    We have known for years they are crooks.

    If this was China, you would have the top 100 brass up against
    a wall in 30 days and executed.

    We need to at least convict & execute the top 10 officer
    in the Guard in the next 30 days.

    Youtube: paul8kangas

  • Anonymous

    Time to arrest every top ranking officer in the Guard.
    We have known for years they are crooks.

    If this was China, you would have the top 100 brass up against
    a wall in 30 days and executed.

    We need to at least convict & execute the top 10 officer
    in the Guard in the next 30 days.

    Youtube: paul8kangas

  • Anonymous

    Time to arrest every top ranking officer in the Guard.
    We have known for years they are crooks.

    If this was China, you would have the top 100 brass up against
    a wall in 30 days and executed.

    We need to at least convict & execute the top 10 officer
    in the Guard in the next 30 days.

    Youtube: paul8kangas

  • Anonymous

    Every time I see an officer from the Guard
    I ask them how much they stole this year.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s all follow this story for the next year.
    I want all the brass convicted
    and forced to pay back all the money
    now.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry Paul we don’t live in communist China or the old USSR.

    At least wait to see the facts fully come forward and see what happens.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I can just imagine how they look at you after you make a comment like that.

    Had I been standing in line behind you when you spouted off to them you’d have heard from me.

  • Anonymous

    The Cali State Guard is corrupt to the core.
    These war criminals murder kids in Iraq
    and rob us blind here.
    I am now running for the State Senate
    demanding all Guard members who own houses
    must have liens place on their houses to force the
    war criminals to repay the stolen money.

    The revolution sweeping Africa, China,
    Cuba, Russia and next year Latin America,
    will be marching in SF & Sacramento next Sat., 11am,
    on 3-19-11.

    Come hear speakers from Libya, Egypt, Cuba, China,
    Tunis, Palestine, Latin America and Russia.

    Youtube: paul8kangas

  • Anonymous

    As a vet, I find the corruption in the military
    starts from the top.

    Time to chop from the top.
    Arrest every officer in the Guard
    for this massive fraud.

  • Anonymous

    What??!! Corruption and waste inside America’s military??!! No way! They’re HEROES!!!

    Too bad Americans consider the military and T.S.A. sacrosanct and holy, otherwise they might actually start demanding accountability.

    But that’ll never happen….

  • Anonymous

    I hope when those who are found guilty of fraud, beside being court martial they should loose their pension, DIShonorable discharge and a felony record.
    They disgraced the uniform, the flag as well as those in Arlington National Cemetery.

  • Anonymous

    “The Cali State Guard is corrupt to the core.
    These war criminals murder kids in Iraq
    and rob us blind here.”

    Fry ice, you hater.

  • Anonymous

    That’s right! They’re HEROES!!! There’s NO WAY they would do something improper!

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely! If you haven’t SERVED, you don’t deserve to give an opinion! The military are HOLY! You should fall down and WORSHIP THEM!!!

    You’re probably an AMERICA HATER!!!

  • http://twitter.com/stoptaxingme stoptaxingme

    Uhhh, the link didn’t work and the article does not mention what the abuses were. This article is very irresponsible. This article discusses 26,000 deployments and calls these soldiers thieves.

  • Tim Ratcliffe

    “… this story is hampered by a lack of supporting information and by not having waited for the results of official investigations.”—————————I retired from the California National Guard as a master sergeant. With that background I believe there would have been no investigation if the Sacto Bee had not printed the story.

  • poor in NY

    It’s unfortunate that PBS does not allow podcasts of all episodes of news program Need To Know. This week’s program was recommended to me, because of the National Guard story, so I tried to find a podcast to download, overnight, so I could watch it. It does not exist. I realize you can watch online, if you are affluent enough to have high speed internet, but I am on dial up. The screen for watching online has had nothing but a spinning squiggle for the last 3 hours. Too bad. I hear it was an excellent show.
    Maybe this is why the poor are often also ignorant.

  • poor in NY

    I can’t even find transcripts anywhere. I got excited because the screen did something besides the squiggle. Then I saw what it said; “the connection has timed out.”

  • A real Vet

    try and hide your contempt from the days when you were forced to listen to someone higher ranking than yourself. Your miserable days as a PFC are over

  • Lawrence Shotland

    Why was my comment removed? It was critical but I backed up my opinions with
    evidence and reasoned arguments. Aren’t you being a little touchy? Censorhip?

  • Guest

    Well, folks do the words “may”, “alleged”, “possible” mean anything? This is irresponsible journalism at its worst. They’re got most of you uptight about something that we don’t even know has happened. Quit letting the media distract us from things that are really important

  • Tim Ratcliffe

    ” just because you don’t like what you heard does not give you the right to say there is corruption all the way down the line. ”
    ——————
    “corruption” is, I believe, not the problem. “Dereliction of duty” would be more like it. Remember, “Authority can be delegated while responsibility cannot.”

  • Inspiredfollower

    I have viewed the video, and from an HR stand point, ” having one persona assigned to administer this type of program was a huge flaw regarding leadership, structure, checks and balances..

    And, to have the guards staff…highlight millions and a huge time frame of miss management falls on the hands of the all government bureaus…

  • joefromtheblock

    Are you suggesting that they don’t kill kids? Or that there isn’t corruption here at home? because evidence tell us otherwise.

  • joefromtheblock

    abuses of power, happens all the time…as we see here again.

  • bretm

    Not every Guard officer is corrupt or dishonest.  How sad that you lump everyone together.  Would you like to be thrown in with a lot of lazy union members even if you weren’t one?

  • Guestintheknow

    To all who keep hiding behind the ” Well its just an allegation” comments, How about you take a look at the DOJ’s website and read the press release that shows they Threw Toni Jaffe in Federal Prison.  

  • I Love Haters

    Why am I not surprised that a comment like that came from “joefromtheblock”

    Look, there is much more out there than the streets of your neighborhood. Civilians like you make me sick thinking about dying in the line of duty for my country. If you mean by “kids” do you mean those who get strapped up with a bomb by their fathers’ and forced to walk towards U.S. Soldiers? Or the one who picked up an AK and decided he’s a man? Remember that no kid has held a weapon to you and made you decide wether or not you want to live today and don’t condemn those who decided to live. Also remember that making that choice they also have to live WITH. Can you imagine that?

    To find corruption at home you need only to look in a newspaper or on big city street corners.
    I am a California Army National Guard soldier from Oakland CA who knows what corruption looks like and what war really is. REAL corruption and money wasted is out there on the streets every day where your tax dollars are going to those who have kids and more kids just to collect more government money to support their awful habits. This is a matter they already plan on taking care of and money they WILL replace and take from soldiers who may not have known they have false bonuses. I KNOW what corruption is and KNOW what war is these days before I speak so ill about those who serve so others don’t HAVE to.

    You need to watch that ignorance of yours when talking about those who serve and show some respect because I seriously doubt there is anything you are doing to make any difference to these “kids” you are sympathetically thinking of or the corruption on your homefront. Remember how much you hate corruption in everything you do from now on and act accordingly or just keep your comments to yourself because you are speaking from the safety of your house and not overseas in some tent getting mortared! HOOAH!?

  • Msgstorm55

    What?  I did not know that MSG Jaffe went to a federal prison.  Damn, this is sad.