The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Peeling Back Another Onion

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


As I wrote last week, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has gotten herself into some hot water concerning her solicitation for donations for non-profit groups that will help with the implementation of Obamacare.  She asked for donations from corporations, some of which are regulated by HHS, and foundations.

Reuters reports the non-profit “Enroll America” seems to be the prime beneficiary of these funds, at least so far.  The group was founded by principals from the group “Families USA,” a big supporter of Obamacare.  It is led by Anne Filipic, who…drum roll please…worked in the Obama White House on public engagement projects and Chris Wyant who ran the president’s eastern Ohio field office.  (Hmmm, I wonder how quickly they got their 501(c)3 non-profit status?)

Reuter’s reports that only the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation has given a grant.  Also solicited was H. & R. Block, the tax preparation company, but they have said they have made no commitment to provide financial assistance to “Enroll America.”

However, prior news reports indicate that insurance companies, and perhaps other health industries, were also approached by Secretary Sebelius.  Since these entities are regulated by HHS, such solicitations would be improper, if not outright illegal.

Congress has gotten into the act and is now investigating the episode.  The Energy and Commerce Committee has sent a letter to HHS and several companies expressing concern that Secretary Sebelius has asked for donations from a regulated industry and has demanded a list of individuals, companies, and organizations that received the fundraising pitch.  The committee also wants to know, “a list of HHS employees that participated [in the effort], a summary of the communications and information relayed, and detailed information on the funding sources and amount spent/allocated to implement the law.”  You can click here and here to review the letters sent by the committee.

The peeling back of the onion begins yet again on another administration scandal.

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