Republican Senators Hit Sebelius On Obamacare Fundraising

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Several Republican senators are calling for an investigation into whether the head of Health and Human Services violated appropriations and ethics rules when she reportedly tried to raise funds for a group that is working to help put Obamacare in place.

“Major news outlets in recent weeks have reported that U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is raising money from the private sector-including from health care executives-for use by a private entity, Enroll America, that is helping to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” the Republicans, who are the ranking members on several key committees, wrote the HHS inspector general on Thursday.

“These activities call into question whether appropriations and ethics laws are being followed,” Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee the ranking Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma the ranking Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee wrote.

Those actions are now also under investigation by two House committees. Several other Republicans have also recently written a letter to the U.S. Comptroller General asking for an investigation into the matter.

HHS provided a previously released statement on the matter that said, in part: “the Secretary has made no fundraising requests to entities regulated by HHS.”

“Since March, the Secretary has made two fundraising calls on behalf of Enroll America to two organizations-the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and H&R Block-neither of which is regulated by us and both of whom share a commitment to helping uninsured Americans,” the HHS said. “Her calls were in line with a special section of the Public Health Service Act, in place since 1976, that allows this and previous Secretaries to support and to encourage others to support nonprofit organizations promoting health.”

By Halimah Abdullah

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