With most of the attention on Benghazi, the IRS and DOJ/AP scandals, HHS Secretary Sebelius’ effort to shake down companies to help fund the rollout of ObamaCare hasn’t gotten nearly the attention it deserves.
It looks like that’s about to change.
Reports in The Washington Post and The New York Times revealed several weeks ago that Sebelius has been jacking up health industry executives for millions of dollars in “donations” to promote ObamaCare. Health industry sources have reported that Sebelius gave “strong indications” that every firm contacted was expected to contribute a predetermined amount. Nobody beats the Democrats when it comes to shakedown artistry.
“If they felt pressure, they misunderstood,” said Sebelius. “I can’t answer what they felt. I can tell you that … I have made fundraising solicitations to two groups and I did not discuss funding with the other three entities. I did discuss Enroll America.”
As reported by The New York Times, Sebelius has disclosed that she made telephone calls to three companies regulated by her department and urged them to “help” Enroll America, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded for the purpose of getting as many Americans as possible to participate in ObamaCare’s state-run health insurance exchanges when the initial enrollment period begins October 1 of this year.
She identified the companies as Johnson & Johnson, the drug maker, Ascension Health, a large Roman Catholic health care system, and Kaiser Permanente, a large medical group.
At a hearing of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Tuesday, Sebelius said she did not explicitly ask the companies for money, but urged them to “support the work” of Enroll America.
Hold on a sec. She did not “specifically ask for money,” but she “urged them to support” Enroll America. Really? How – by giving them pep talks and cheering them on in the parking lot?
Republicans in Congress have raised questions about the legality and propriety of Sebelius’ fund-raising efforts for weeks, saying she was trying to circumvent limits on spending set by Congress.
In a letter to Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson, senior GOP senators on three influential committees asked if Sebelius broke any laws or violated ethics guidelines by soliciting insurance companies and other health care industry entities to contribute to a nonprofit (Enroll America) that says it will educate Americans about the health law.
“These activities call into question whether appropriations and ethics laws are being followed,” said Utah Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, ranking member of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
So, like the other three scandals plaguing “the most transparent administration in history,” scandal number four will play out in the days and weeks ahead. The question is, was Sebelius’ ObamaCare money-grab a legal stretch – or a shakedown for cash?
Let’s see: Judging by the Regime’s Benghazi coverup, IRS intimidation of the Tea Party and other conservative groups, and the DOJ secretly targeting Fox’s James Rosen and other journalists, I’m gonna have to go with “b”.