In a sharply worded letter sent today to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) suggested Sebelius may have perjured herself before Congress, accusing her of providing “false and misleading” testimony before various congressional panels about Healtcare.gov.
Issa, who said testimony and documents obtained by the committee contradicted several Sebelius statements, pressed for revisions and explanations of her testimony and demanded documents and communications made as part of the preparation for her appearances.
Moreover, Issa accused Sebelius of misleading Congress about the health of the website.
He reminded her that giving false testimony to Congress is a crime:
“Witnesses who purposely give false or misleading testimony during a congressional hearing may be subject to criminal liability,” he wrote.
The letter cites four examples of allegedly false statements:
- That MITRE Corp., a contractor hired by HHS, was conducting ongoing security testing;
- That MITRE’s preliminary report “did not raise flags about going ahead;”
- That “no one… suggested that the risks outweighed the importance of moving forward;”
- That MITRE made recommendations to CMS about moving forward.
And Issa wrote:
Your failure during numerous Congressional hearings to explicitly mention the serious problems with security testing in the month prior to launch creates the appearance that you carefully chose language that would mislead Members of Congress and the American public.
HHS indicated it would respond to the letter, but so far does not appear to have publicly addressed the charges directly.