• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Senator: Sebelius Fundraising Could Compel Companies to Support Obama

    Health and Human Services Department (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

    The top Republican on the Senate’s health care committee warned on Wednesday that a recent administration decision to allow cabinet secretaries to raise money for political organizations could coerce individuals or organizations into financially supporting the president’s reelection in order to avoid a regulatory backlash.

    Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is one of a handful of cabinet officials who have said they will speak at fundraising events for a major super PAC supporting the president’s reelection.

    Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), ranking member on the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, said the move creates a “self-evident” conflict of interest for the secretary.

    Because Sebelius has broad authority to implement sweeping new health care regulations, Enzi said in a letter to the president, “it would be particularly inappropriate to also have her participate in these fundraising events.”

    “The potential for health care stakeholders to perceive a compulsion to financially participate in these activities, to possibly avert subsequent adverse regulatory decisions, is self evident,” Enzi added.

    A source familiar with committee workings told Scribe that Enzi will ask Sebelius about this potential conflict at Wednesday’s Senate Finance Committee hearing on the president’s proposed budget, where Sebelius will testify.

    The secretary’s authority over the new Obamacare law has even extended to decisions about which entities will be forced to comply with it. Given the burdensome financial and regulatory requirements of the law, numerous companies will have a direct and substantial interest in pushing to exempt themselves from those requirements.

    “In light of this potential conflict of interest,” Enzi wrote, “I request that you reconsider your Administration’s decision to allow Secretary Sebelius to attend such fundraising events.”

    If she insists on participation, Enzi wrote, Sebelius should recuse herself from any regulatory decisions that affect the people or organizations that have participated in these fundraising activities.

    Sebelius and cabinet secretaries Steven Chu (Energy), Ray LaHood (Transportation), Ken Salazar (Interior) and Arne Duncan (Educatation) have said they will speak at fundraising events for Priorities USA Action, a major third-party fundraising group supporting the president’s reelection. While they themselves will not specifically ask for money, they will headline events explicitly designed as fundraising efforts.

    While the efforts are legal, assuming the officials don’t themselves engage in the fundraising “ask,” they raise significant conflict-of-interest questions. Look for these issues to be addressed at Wednesday’s hearing.

    Here is Enzi’s full letter:

    Enzi Letter

    Posted in Obamacare, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    10 Responses to Senator: Sebelius Fundraising Could Compel Companies to Support Obama

    1. TheTruth says:

      These people are LOSERS. They have gone to far. THEY WILL BE DEFEATED IN NOVEMBER.The Tea Party will MAKE SURE OF THAT.

    2. houndofdoom says:

      How is this administration different from an organized crime syndicate?

      Seriously. They both appear to function the same wey.

      • Scot - New Jersey says:

        You've hit the nail on the head…there is no difference! The Obama Administration is a nationalized Chicago crime syndicate.

    3. Chris in N.Va. says:

      Saaaay, dis is a nice lil' company ya got here. Sure would be a shame if sumpiin' were ta happen to it, if ya know whuddai mean. Perhaps me 'n' da boyz kin make sure nuttin' duzz, fer da right price, o' course.

    4. My God, this President and his handlers studied the weaknesses in our system and on January 20, 2009, they commenced a very comprehensive program to:

      1.Weaken our country, economically, culturally and militarily
      2.Assure their continued power by taking from the middle class and buying the votes of the poor and uneducated
      3.Gaming the system to assure no opposition from the rich.

      I believed it had progressed too far to be stopped….now I am sure of it!

      After listening today to the lies spewing forth from Mr. Obama at Master Lock in Wisconsin and the messiah worship from the apparently uninformed masses kneeling before him, I am certain we are in a hopeless spiral to the status of a third world country or Eastern Europe after the demise of the Soviet Union.

      For a bit of satire and diversion from watching our Republic go up in smoke (and mirrors) may I direct your attention to http://www.whatwouldsoroshdo.com

    5. West Texan says:

      When " … various healthcare entities … perceive inappropriate coercion to participate in such [political] fundraising.", then a major problem exist where these healthcare entities would be fearful of reprisal. This gives congress grounds to either demand the HHS secretary be fired or impeachment of the president himself. Obama's overreaching healthcare mandate is the final straw of wasteful big government social progressive nonsense. This so called constitutional scholar has unreasonably exercised the powers vested in the presidency. He has buried the country further in debt, weakened private markets, subverted federalism and compromised our republic by slandering and completely ignoring the House of Representatives. Never mind what "We the People" want. Obama's going to carry out his socialist wannabe agenda "with or without congress".

    6. rigdum_funidos says:

      take a close look at how Chicago thug politics works: you are going to see a lot of it in the next seven months.

    7. Stirling says:

      Chicago style politics, and policy that creates an unequal playing field. This is how countries loose their freedom, and people's trust in government. Force is not freedom it is tyranny..

    8. Tom says:

      I will rephrase that and say that this REGIME is a semi-organized crime syndicate. There can be little remaining doubt that the "Administration" of this so-called President is the most corrupt in the history of the nation. And now there are many who are supposedly "in-the-know" who contend that not-president Obama is a shoo-in for reelection.

      In Washington, the word "borrow" long ago became a euphemism for steal and legalized grand larceny has been the primary industry, but the larceny that is being perpetrated by this regime is on the grandest scale that larceny has ever been perpetrated.

      Another oxymoron: "Honest government."

    9. ROY S. MALLMANN says:

      The sheer duplicity of this corrupt administration never ceases to amaze me. The fact that the home city of Obama and most of his administration cohorts is Chicago which was declared "The most corrupt city in the United States" goes a long way to showing why this duplicity and total lack of morality exists in this administration. The true story will not be revealed until he is out of office and loses his ability to cover everything up.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×