HELENA — The Department of Defense inspector general has released a harsh reviewof alleged conduct by Congressman Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, during his time as a rear admiral, serving as the top White House physician,
Allegations against Jackson include alcohol-related misconduct, misuse of Ambien for personal use and sexual comments about a female subordinate.
The congressman has denied the allegations, claiming that they are politically motivated.
Jakson was a significant talking point in Montana politics following Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, raising concerns during Jackson's nomination as VA Secretary in 2018.
Then ranking member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Tester expressed concerns about what he had heard from current and former military and wanted the allegations to be investigated.
“The same story was told to me so many times that it became apparent that we had to ask the questions,” said Tester.”He could have answered those questions. He could have defended himself. He chose not to.”
Not long after Tester and other senators raised concerns, Jackson withdrew himself as the nominee to head the VA.
Tester’s challenge on Jackson brought the ire of former President Trump and many Montana Republicans in tow.
Tester faced a barrage of political ads attacking the democratic senator for his stance during his re-election campaign that year.
Trump visited the state four times to campaign against Tester – and almost always brought up Jackson, alleging that Tester had unfairly torpedoed his VA nominee.
“I hope folks take a look at this IG report and think back to the way things were,” Tester told MTN. “I don’t necessarily feel vindicated, what I do feel is what we did was right and we were doing our job as a United States senator on the checks and balances for [nominations] that come through and doing the advice and consent that we’re required to do with the Constitution.”
Tester added he’s thankful for the work of all inspector generals in helping Congress holding those in federal agencies accountable.
“[Inspector generals] are always known for being non partisan and just doing the work… They’re really Congress’s eyes and ears in these agencies when we get told one thing and they do another. Which is exactly what transpired there,” said Tester. “Part of the reason you do this job is to get to the truth.”
MTN reached out to both Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, and Congressman Matt Rosendale, R-Montana, for comment on the matter. Neither could be immediately reached for response.