The HHS Secretary appears to be using Obamacare funds for illegal lobbying.
Ever wonder what Kathleen Sebelius does when she isn’t sentencing children to death, shaking down health care providers, or violating campaign finance laws? Well, it seems she spends her spare time, and a lot of taxpayer money, dabbling in illegal lobbying. The Anti-Lobbying Act forbids federal bureaucrats from using money appropriated by Congress to influence “an official of any government, to favor, adopt, or oppose… any legislation, law, ratification, policy, or appropriation.” Sebelius evidently didn’t get the memo.
Specifically, it looks like Madam Commissar and her HHS minions have been using federal money to lobby state and local officials to “favor, adopt or oppose” countless initiatives involving everything from local zoning rules to ordinances concerning tobacco use to the imposition of new taxes on soft drinks. The cash they are thus spreading around comes from an obscure Obamacare trove called the “Prevention and Public Health Fund,” which provides Sebelius with what amounts to $12.5 billion in pin money.
For any reader too young to recognize the term “pin money,” this refers to a regular allowance your grandfather might have given to your grandmother for various incidental household purchases that she wasn’t expected to report to him or account for later. And this, despite the truly gigantic amounts of money involved, is pretty much how the “Prevention and Public Health Fund” works. As Stuart Taylor reports in Forbes, “[HHS] can spend the money as it sees fit and without going through the congressional appropriations process.”