A newly uncovered batch of emails raise questions about whether the White House was knowledgeable about fundraising calls made to private entities by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for Enroll America, a nonprofit that sought to enroll people in Obamacare.
According to the Washington Examiner, White House officials have said they did not sign off on calls made by Sebelius and were only generally aware that she was soliciting donations from outside groups.
But emails provided to the Examiner under a Freedom of Information Act request show that White House officials participated in weekly conference calls with HHS and Enroll America.
According to the Examiner:
The emails show that White House Office of Public Engagement staffers participated in weekly conference calls with HHS and Enroll America. The emails also show that the agenda of these phone meetings included Sebelius’ calls to outside entities, high-level operational planning and more focused outreach with private partners through senior White House aides.
Republicans are furious with Sebelius for making the calls and charge she was trying to circumvent Congress, which had denied the administration funding to promote the Affordable Care Act.
Critics say Sebelius, given the federal government’s enormous power, was effectively pressuring companies to donate, and some suspect she may have solicited funds from companies she regulates.
The administration denies this and says Sebelius’ actions were legal.