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  • Federal Grants May Have Illegally Funded Lobbying Activities

    Federal funds may have illegally supported state and local lobbying efforts as part of a “prevention and wellness” program by the Department of Health and Human Services, according to HHS’s Inspector General.

    The IG noted that possibility in a letter to Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who first raised concerns about the program. “Grantees may have violated a series of anti-lobbying statutes,” the IG found. Statements by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which administered the program, “appear to authorize, or even encourage, grantees to use grant funds for impermissible lobbying,” the IG added.

    The CDC program awards grants to states to reduce smoking and obesity. Those grants cannot be used to lobby state or local legislatures, but the IG’s office found “numerous examples of activities that, on their face, may violate anti-lobbying provisions.”

    The IG notes that while state and local efforts may have included lobbying, federal funds did not necessarily go towards those specific activities. But descriptions of some of the state and local activities at issue suggest at least an intention to misuse federal funds (if unwittingly).

    This is an excerpt from the California Department of Health’s proposal for a CDC grant under the program (emphasis added):

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) proposes to use American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to promote wellness and reduce chronic disease through statewide and local policy and environmental change in the areas of nutrition, physical activity, and tobacco use. CDPH proposes to limit unhealthy drink availability (sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs)) by working to advance policy changes that address the sale of sugar-sweetened electrolyte replacement beverages in California public schools.

    A solicitation for contracts under the program by King County, WA, contained this description:

    This RFP will support schools, local governments and communities in changing policies, systems and environments to increase HEAL… Activities must result in tangible policy, systems or environment changes—or significant steps towards making such changes—within 20 months.

    An award summary for another King County grant says, “Focus of investment is on one time costs associated with instituting policy, systems and environmental changes in various sectors including schools, local governments, and community-based organizations.”

    A Pennsylvania Department of Health summary says the CDC grant “supports promotion of wellness and chronic disease prevention through state-wide and local policy environment and environmental change.”

    The HHS IG said it would investigate both the use of CDC grants to fund lobbying activities, and the agency’s oversight of those grants. Embedded below is the full correspondence between Sen. Collins and the Inspector General.

    Posted in Featured, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Federal Grants May Have Illegally Funded Lobbying Activities

    1. blained13 says:

      Imagine that fraud in the federal government, who would have ever imagined that. Nobody should be surprised about any type of fraud or illegal activity in a government of this size. This stuff will keep happening, more taxpayer money printed out of thin air and flushed down the toilet.

    2. Steve Jarret says:

      This is fantastic journalism, nice work, ..

      I think they call this "pay to play", ..

      Fraud and falsification of documents are crimes ,..

      S

    3. Stirling says:

      The government continues to prove to the American people that they do not deserve the financial support of it's people. It is my opinion that in the future people will make more of an effort to use "Cash only", cutting the government taxes out of the equation due to the government spending abuses.

    4. Carol, AZ says:

      Yes, Heritage sharpen your pencils. The antithesis for undermining your rights for free speech, our National Security, and all legal due process, for Civil law , State and Federal laws, should have you quacking in front of your flat screens. Where have you been for four years?
      Articles written and dropped for months for follow-up, for further investigation.
      Illegally funded project to : ACORN , LA Raza, Fast & Furious, New Black Panthers, unlimited funds to the ACLU, the Unions, and to MX, to back door the security and safety for all Americans.
      VOTER FRAUD with tephlon Dom, Holder going after all State that have voter laws in place, and all States that recently passed law for,secure elections, now facing law suits. Sharpen your pencils H.F.

    5. CforUS says:

      The list of things the USG spends money on and is proven to be suspicious or illegal grows daily. The question these people should be asking is "should we be spending money on this" instead of "where can we spend this money?".

    6. Bobbie says:

      Come on!!!! All illegal and in highly, overpaid positions we have no control over!!! They get paid to rip us off, they get paid to corrupt their positions, they get paid to cheat the system, they get paid to slander Americans, they get paid to defy America! They get paid to mislead, they get paid by intent. And we're worried about losing our independence to the costs of government!!!!!! All of what everyone mentions here is what can't continue! We want all government workers at every government positions held accountable to their work!!! America requires disciplinary action and accountability. If we can' have people with integrity working for us, we don't want them working for us!

    7. John says:

      Since obviously you don't realize what's been happening, the CDC and other federal agencies have been dooling out grant money to city, county, and other local governments that adopt smoking bans, not to mention to anti-smoking coalitions who push for stricter smoking bans. It's been happening in both the Saint Louis area, plus also in the Myrtle Beach area. I'll note that these aren't the only 2 areas of the country where these ban grants have been given to a smoking ban coalition.

      Articles proving it's been happening(wasteful grant money being given to anti groups pushing for smoking bans, plus waving financial grants to communities that ultimately decide to ban smoking) in both parts of the country(grant money going to both Tobacco-Free Saint Louis in the Saint Louis area, and Smoke-Free Horry in the Myrtle Beach/Conway area): http://www2.scnow.com/news/201... http://www.carolinalive.com/ne... http://www.stltoday.com/news/l... http://mogasp.wordpress.com/20... http://www.ssmhealth.com/Pages...

    8. john says:

      http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/federal-g

      Federal Government Continues Progress to Prevent Tobacco-Caused Disease While States Fall Tragically Short

      "President Obama's administration has confronted the tobacco epidemic head-on," said Charles D. Connor, American Lung Association president and CEO.

    9. This money is still flowing out from the CDC for illegal lobbying! They are thumbing their noses at Congress and spending the money hand over fist. This money, two weeks ago, funded the Conference in St Louis that the CDC and the FDA employees had a booth at, and where EVERY grant mooch in the country flew in to be told HOW to lobby for bans, and HOW to get the grants.

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