HHS Secretary Sebelius Subpoenaed in Investigation of Government PR Campaign
Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) has issued a subpoena demanding that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provide information on the use of taxpayer dollars to promote the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act health care law through public relations campaigns, advertisements, polling, message testing, and similar services.
The subpoena, which is the first that Camp has issued as Chairman of the Committee, comes after the Obama Administration failed to respond to repeated requests from Chairman Camp and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany, Jr., M.D. (R-LA) to provide the requested materials.
To date, media reports have highlighted that HHS has spent millions of taxpayer dollars to promote the health care law. This includes costly contracts to drive Internet traffic to pro-ObamaCare websites and produce television commercials promoting the Administration’s positions. Government officials have also discussed using taxpayer funds to push prime-time television shows to add dialogue touting the health care law.
Despite repeated requests and assurances by HHS that the information would be made available, since June 1, HHS has failed to provide any information.
Chairman Camp stated , “This Administration has repeatedly stonewalled Congress and refused to allow a public review of how these tax dollars were spent. The lack of response leads me to believe that this Administration is either unwilling to disclose why they are using taxpayer dollars to market their unpopular law or are unable to keep track of how those taxpayer dollars are being spent. Either way, the American people deserve to know where their hard-earned money is going. I had hoped the Administration would be responsive to Chairman Boustany’s request. However, after months of being unresponsive, I am left with no choice but to compel their cooperation. Chairman Boustany has been a vocal advocate for the taxpayer, and I applaud him for his diligent oversight of the President’s healthcare law.”
Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany stated , “Enough is enough. Americans across the country oppose the Democrats’ health care law. HHS serves as the Administration’s mouthpiece spending millions of dollars to convince the American public this law is viable. HHS continues to present a misleading case that is inherently one-sided. Americans deserve to know how this Administration continues to spend taxpayer dollars to further its own agenda.”