(POLITICO) — House lawmakers charged Tuesday that a culture of corruption at the Department of Veterans Affairs allowed the agency to freely retaliate against whistleblowers.

At a hearing of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, lawmakers peppered four federal whistleblowers on ways to fix the VA’s reputation of acting against employees who raise concerns about health care quality or fraud and said the VA needed a broad cultural change.

Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) praised the whistleblowers for focusing on the “essential mission of the VA.”

“Whistleblowers serve the essential function of providing a reality check on what is actually going in the department,” Miller said. “Whistleblowers dare to speak to truth to power. None of these whistleblowers lost sight of the essential mission of the VA. They understand people are not inputs and outputs on a central office spreadsheet.”

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