Former Marion County Coroner John McGoff criticized Rep. Dan Burton today for not attending a congressional hearing Monday on the problems at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
McGoff, who plans to challenge Burton in the 2008 GOP primary, said Burton's absence is just as inexcusable as the conditions and care given to recovering soldiers at the medical center. "At the very least," McGoff said in a statement, "I think he owes an explanation not just to his constituents, but to the troops who are patients at Walter Reed and other military hospitals."
Burton did not return calls Monday and today asking why he didn't attend the hearing.
At least 18 of the 40 members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform attended the hearing held at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The hearing was conducted by the panel's National Security and Foreign Affairs subcommittee which Burton serves on.
The revelations of substandard care and conditions at the army's medical center have sparked outrage and calls for investigation.
Burton told WTHR he was busy attending a long-planned meeting with constituents in Indianapolis on Monday and that's why he couldn't attend the committee hearing. This would be the same committee Burton once chaired during his infamous investigations of the Clinton administration.
On another note, the Indiana Legislative Insight is reporting this week that McGoff is not the only Republican looking at challenging Burton next year. Resident Senate wing nut Sen. Jeff Drozda (R-Westfield) is apparently chomping at the bit to take on Burton. A Drozda bid would probably be welcomed by Burton under the belief Drozda and McGoff would split the anti-Burton vote in a primary, thereby allowing Burton to slip through with less than 50% of the vote.