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Obamacare: Darrell Issa requests documents from HHS related to illegal lobbying with taxpayer money

March 22, 2012

  With the probability that John Boehner put the brakes on Darrell Issa’s Fast and Furious investigation, it appears as if Darrell Issa has moved on to the next looming scandal. This one involves the possibility of illegal Obamacare lobbying with the use of taxpayer money.

  It has been reported that the Department of Health and Human Services received grant money to set up a couple of agencies to implement portions of the Obamacare law but turned around and used a portion of that taxpayer money for lobbying instead. A practice that Darrell Issa believes is illegal. Taxpayer money funding lobbyists to fight for more taxpayer money? It sure doesn’t sound like it is on the level, and yesterday Darrell Issa sent a letter to Kathleen Sebelius asking for documents related to the burgeoning scandal.

In the letter, obtained by The Daily Caller, Issa wrote that there are multiple  statutes — including language in the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bill, 18  U.S.C. Section 1913 (aka the “Anti-Lobbying Act,” in effect since 1919), the  1989 Byrd Amendment, and HHS’ own regulations — prohibiting taxpayer money from  going toward lobbying, at any level of government, as well as examples of  grantees using federal funds to lobby local officials.

    When Kathleen Sebelius was first asked about this when she testified in front of a Congressional Subcommittee she admitted that it was happening, and she admitted that she knew it was happening, but she defended it by stating that because it was happening at a local–and not a federal–level that the practice was legal.

  This excuse does not hold water, Title 18 of the U.S. Code, Section 1913:

“No part of the money appropriated by any enactment of Congress shall, in the  absence of express authorization by Congress, be used directly or indirectly to  pay for any personal service, advertisement, telegram, telephone, letter,  printed or written matter, or other device, intended or designed to influence in  any manner a Member of Congress, a jurisdiction, or an official of any  government, to favor, adopt, or oppose, by vote or otherwise, any legislation,  law, ratification, policy or appropriation.”

  Here is part of the letter Darrell Issa sent to Kathleen Sebelius, including the violations it appears as if her department has committed:

Despite these apparently clear prohibitions against using federal funds  for lobbying at the federal, state, or local government levels, and despite HHS’ assurances grants were awarded according to Anti-Lobbying prohibitions and the  agency’s own AR-12 guidelines, the CDC appears to have violated this  long-standing provision in issuing Patient Protection and Affordable Act’s “Prevention and Public Health Fund” grants. For instance:

  • The County of St. Louis, Missouri sought, and received, a $7.5 million  dollar grant to in part identify “a County Council member willing to introduce  amendments … “
  • The Executive Office of the Governor of Delaware sought, and received, a  $1,022,792 dollar grant to in part “seek sponsorship of (a) bill …”
  • The Iowa Department of Public Health sought, and received, a $600,256 grant to  in part “support passage” and lobby two legislative representatives “to sponsor  (a) bill in upcoming session”
  • The Colorado Department of Public Health sought, and received, a  $793,946 grant to in part “secure bill sponsors for legislation

    Here is how Darrell Issa ended his letter to Kathleen Sebelius:

As Secretary of HHS, the CDC follows your guidance regarding anti-lobbying,” Issa wrote. “As such, I am concerned with conflicting messages regarding HHS’s  position on lobbying with federal funds that you have conveyed in your most  recent testimonies on Capitol Hill

  On the surface it certainly appears as if taxpayer money was used for illegal lobbying, and an investigation seems justified. Hopefully Darrell Issa will get to the bottom of this before John Boehner puts an end to this investigation as well.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. John Carey permalink
    March 22, 2012 10:46 pm

    I smell another scandal Steve…

    Like

    • March 23, 2012 5:40 am

      So do I John, they just keep piling up.

      Like

    • lou222 permalink
      March 23, 2012 4:03 pm

      John, just one of many and nothing ever comes of them. I have gotten to the point (almost) that I really don’t care what they do, it never comes to justice. It amazes me that we have gotten to this point and BOTH parties have contributed to it.

      Like

      • March 24, 2012 7:45 am

        I know how you feel Lou, it is like they are trying to lull us into a state of apathy.

        Like

  2. March 22, 2012 11:05 pm

    With Boehner stabbing Issa in the back, how far will this investigation go?

    Like

    • March 23, 2012 5:40 am

      That’s the big question.

      Like

  3. Peter McCullough permalink
    March 23, 2012 9:12 am

    “It was Barzini, I mean Boehner, all along. Sebelius is just a pimp, she could have never outfought Issa.

    Like

  4. bunkerville permalink
    March 23, 2012 9:30 pm

    If Issa keeps at it long enough they will hang themselves. I do believe it. It might be after the fall election. That would be my worry.

    Like

    • March 24, 2012 7:46 am

      The problem is that if Obama wins reelection this will all go away fro good because Democrats will control the Oversight Committee, this is going to have to be done before the election or it might never be.

      Like

  5. April 16, 2012 1:22 pm

    How many “scandals” have been actually proven to be scandals? None.
    When will Darrell Issa stop wasting the American Taxpayers money on these phony “scandals” and actually do the work he was sent to Washington to do?
    Just how many dead horses rears do the right-wing/republican/tea-parties have to look up before they realize Obama’s not the problem?
    Stop screwing with this President and start focusing on jobs as you said you’d do when you were elected!
    Oh, and just when will Darrell do an investigation on when Bush knew there was no WMD in Iraq? Real inquiring minds want to know.

    Like

    • April 16, 2012 7:04 pm

      The scandals are still being investigated and just because the investigations aren’t over doesn’t mean they don’t exist. As far as wasting taxpayer money, do you really want to go there? If you do we can start with the failed stimulus and Solargate.
      Part of Darrell Issa job is to investigate these issues so he is in fact doing what he was sent to Washington to do. The Democrats had control of the House and if Bush was to be investigated it should have been done when they were in control and yet they didn’t do it. Why? Because they knew what Bush knew and the authorized it so they are as guilty as he is.

      Like

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