GOP leaders question HHS fundraising

May 30, 2013 in Medical Technology

Senate GOP leaders on Thursday called for an Inspector General investigation into fundraising activities reportedly carried out by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

In a letter, Senate ranking members Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) of the Senate Finance Committee, and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee cited major news’ outlets reports in recent weeks regarding the issue.

[See also: Cracks form in GOP opposition to HIX.] 

According to the Senators, the reports said Sebelius is raising money from the private sector – including from healthcare executives – for use by a private entity, Enroll America, that is helping to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

“These activities call into question whether appropriations and ethics laws are being followed,” the Senators wrote. “The Antideficiency Act prohibits entering into contracts or obligations or accepting voluntary services for the United States in excess of available appropriations. And the Office of Government Ethics Rule (§2635.808) prohibits fundraising in an official’s private capacity from any person or entity that is regulated by that official’s agency.”

“We believe the OIG is well-positioned to impartially examine any and all evidence regarding these practices on the part of Secretary Sebelius or other HHS officials,” the Senators wrote.

The Senators also wrote that they recognize under current law there are certain circumstances in which executive branch officials might be allowed to participate in fundraising in an official capacity – “the precise nature and appropriateness of Secretary Sebelius’s activities is not clear from public reports.”

[See also: EHRA critiques GOP call for MU reboot plan.] 


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