Federal prosecutors said Thursday that they would not bring criminal charges against Diana Rubens, the director of the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs benefits office, who is accused of orchestrating her own transfer to the job and costing the government nearly $300,000 in moving expenses.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia announced its decision in a brief statement. It did not elaborate on the reasons or say what charges it had considered.

"The U.S. Attorney's Office today notified the VA's Office of the Inspector General of this decision and referred the matter to the VA for any administrative action that is deemed appropriate," spokesman Bill Miller said.

The VA's inspector general in September asked the Department of Justice to investigate if Rubens broke the law by arranging for her own 2014 assignment to the Philadelphia job. Investigators said Rubens, a ranking administrator at the VA's headquarters, had been interested in the job, which had fewer responsibilities but the same pay as her position in Washington, because it was closer to her family in Delaware.

In that position, Rubens, who moved to Havertown, Delaware County, oversees the benefits office in Germantown as well as the VA's Wilmington office.

But the $277,000 in relocation expenses - which included payments to a government contractor who bought Rubens' home in Virginia when it did not sell - drew outrage from veterans' groups, and sparked a new dose of scrutiny from members of Congress already harshly critical of VA management.

In making the criminal referral, VA Deputy Inspector General Linda Halliday said the case could represent a misuse of taxpayer funds.

The VA has moved to demote Rubens and reassign her to the Houston benefits office. She is appealing the decision.

Rubens has not spoken publicly about the allegations. At a congressional hearing last month, she repeatedly invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to answer questions.

Her attorney, Robert Spagnoletti, did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson told a congressional panel after the agency's internal review that he did not believe Rubens or a second VA official accused of similarly orchestrating her assignment to a new job had broken the law. Gibson called it "incomprehensible" that the inspector general referred the case to prosecutors.

A VA spokeswoman declined Thursday to comment on the attorney general's decision, referring instead to Gibson's previous comments.


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