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HHS Sends $5.9 Million to Program Run by Obama Buddy

The Department of Health and Human Services last week announced it had awarded a $5.9 million grant to a University of Chicago Medical Center program tied to Michelle Obama and run by Eric Whitaker, one of President Obama’s closest friends.

The Urban Health Initiative, which received the award, was originally based on a smaller program launched during the last decade by Michelle Obama, who was an executive at the University of Chicago Medical Center before she departed to become first lady. The UHI is headed up by Obama basketball and golf buddy Whitaker, who has known the president since Obama’s days in law school and who also vacations with the first family.

Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett also has ties to the UHI. Until resigning to go work at the White House, Jarrett was Chairman of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees. And in 2007, a PR firm run by former senior White House adviser and Obama political guru David Axelrod provided provided public relations strategy advice to the UHI, according to the Washington Post.

There is no specific evidence that any of those linked to the Obamas, or the Obamas themselves, influenced the HHS decision to grant the funding to the UHI. But the large award raises questions about appearance, given the number of Obama associates connected to the program and the involvement of the first lady with its founding.

The UHI won out over lots of competition. According to HHS, some 3,000 applications were received for a share on the $1 billion in 3-year grants available. Only 26 programs were included in the first batch of awards doled out.

An HHS spokesperson said that while “final determinations” were made by the HHS’s CMS Innovation Center Director, objective standards were used in selecting the awards and the White House was not “in any way” involved in the selection of grantees.

“Applications that met the basic eligibility requirements underwent a competitive, objective review,” the spokesperson said. “Independent health care expert review panels  from outside government and staff from all across the Department of Health and Human Services reviewed the applications for how well they met the criteria outlined in the grant solicitation, and made recommendations regarding funding . . . scoring was conducted by an independent panel of content experts that was organized by an experienced contractor.”

The awards have been politicized by the administration, which is touting them as part of its “We Can’t Wait” initiative to create jobs by executive action while the White House “waits” for the Republican-led House to act. The Innovation Center was established under Obamacare.

The Urban Health Initiative was founded to help link low-income patients to health providers in their communities.

According to HHS, UHI received the grant to help it, in partnership with other groups, increase patients’ access to health resources by developing an electronic database of health providers that links to electronic health records maintained by “local safety net providers.”

Last week’s award is not the first time money directed toward the UHI has raised red flags. In September, The Daily Caller reported that the private philanthropy of billionaire Obama supporter and donor George Kaiser had donated $10,000 to the UHI during 2009, the same year Kaiser secured the now-infamous $535 million government loan guarantee to failed solar panel maker Solyndra.

205 Responses to HHS Sends $5.9 Million to Program Run by Obama Buddy

  1. This money comes from the same “Slush Fund” the Republicans tried to do away with last week to pay for the “Student Loan” interest program. I guess we know why Obama fought so hard for “FOB” friends of Barry slush fund Sebilus.

    It’s the economy, and we’re not stupid!

  2. Why am I not surprised to hear this story…..this Chicago gang of thugs make
    Tony Arcado, Mario Roselli and those boys seem like a group of choir boys
    from Notre Dame.

  3. Wow, Keith, I am so glad to see you reporting on this! I knew it was strange that I hadn’t read it mentioned anywhere except at Lynn Sweet’s blog the other day. That’s why I mentioned it to you in the comments last Friday. Thanks for all your further investigation and reporting. And now, another Drudge link!

    So, there were 3,000 applications and ONLY 26 programs were awarded grants, yet we’re supposed to believe that it’s just a coincidence that one of the 26 programs awarded a grant is UHI, run by BHO’s buddy and formerly run by MO? Yeah, right. How stupid do they think we are?

  4. And like the failed “green energy” companies run by supporters of Obama how much of the $5.( million will find it’s way into the reelection coffers of the democrats?

  5. The piece very clearly states there is “no evidence Obamas’ influenced HHS decision” but of course the chattering paranoia from those that can only see in binary explodes.

    You folks are in a perpetual feedback loop of cynical paranoia – serving your own views with toxic make-believe accusations.

    Show me 1 example of Obama Administration Corruption that was proven.

    • All just coincedent right?

      Its called the Chicago Way dipsh!t…they have been doing it so long they don’t even think there is anything wrong.

      Its simple really, you keep one or two people between you who know your desires and relay them down the line….you say people in high places will be very appreciative. When dealing with like-minded people they just play along in hopes that someday THEY get a job offer at those very firms.

      Not that complicated and has been going on from the beginning. Open those eyes littleprecious….its a big dirty world out there who prays on sheep like you.

    • No. The position was created for MO by Valerie Jarrett and was never filled. During the campaign, MO went on “leave” from the position and after the O’s hit the White House the position was quietly eliminated.

  6. This president will go down in history as a dirty grease spot in American politics. The only thing that is keeping him in office is that fact that he is black. Nothing more.

  7. Two ways to get out of the middle class:
    1. be a friend of the crook in charge and he will funnel money to you from the taxpayers
    2. be a middle class taxpayer and have your money funnelled to the crook in charges’s friends.
    Both ways are a means out of middle class.

  8. The worst part is this $6 million came from the $500 billion Obamacare stole from Medicare. Obama and his cronies are literally stealing money from your parents and grandparents and they are spending it as fast as they can before the monstrosity is repealed.

  9. oh nooooooo…………more OBAMA CORRUPTION

    who would’ve thunk it…………..obama sticking it to the American taxpayers, again!!!!

    its just to bad that no one will have the huevos to throw this crook in jail after we kick him to the curb in 11/2012

    OBAMA JUST KEEPS SCREWING AMERICA

    • President Obama and his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel are lifetime members of the same gay bath house in uptown Chicago, according to informed sources in Chicago’s gay community, as well as veteran political sources in the city.

      The bath house, Man’s Country, caters to older white men and it has been in business for some 30 years and is known as one of uptown Chicago’s “grand old bathhouses.” WMR was told by sources who are familiar with the bath house that it provides one-year “lifetime” memberships to paying customers and that the club’s computerized files and pre-computer paper files, include membership information for both Obama and Emanuel. The data is as anonymized as possible for confidentiality purposes. However, sources close to “Man’s Country” believe the U.S. Secret Service has purged the computer and filing cabinet files of the membership data on Obama and Emanuel.

      Members of Man’s Country are also issued club identification cards. WMR learned that Obama and Emanuel possessed the ID cards, which were required for entry.

  10. 1) Only in America could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000 a plate campaign fund raising event.
    2) Only in America could people claim that the government still discriminates against black Americans when we have a black President, a black Attorney General, and roughly 18% of the federal workforce is black. 12% of the population is black.
    3) Only in America could we have had the two people most responsible for our tax code, Timothy Geithner, the head of the Treasury Department and Charles Rangel who once ran the Ways and Means Committee, BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes.
    4) Only in America can we have terrorists kill people in the name of Allah and have the media primarily react by fretting that Muslims might be harmed by the backlash.
    5) Only in America would we make people who want to legally become American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege while we discuss letting anyone who sneaks into the country illegally just become American citizens.
    6) Only in America could the people who believe in balancing the budget and sticking by the country’s Constitution be thought of as “extremists.”
    7) Only in America could you need to present a driver’s license to cash a check or buy alcohol, but not to vote.
    8) Only in America could people demand the government investigate whether oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas went up when the return on equity invested in a major U.S. oil company (Marathon Oil) is less than half of a company making tennis shoes (Nike).
    9) Only in America could the government collect more tax dollars from the people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a trillion dollars more than it has per year for total spending of $7 million PER MINUTE,and complain that it doesn’t have nearly enough money.
    10) Only in America could the rich people who pay 86% of all income taxes be accused of not paying their “fair share” by people who don’t pay any income taxes at all.

  11. I wonder is Eric Whitaker took to the man on man action with Obama and Emmuel in the Chicago Bath Houses?

    President Obama and his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel are lifetime members of the same gay bath house in uptown Chicago, according to informed sources in Chicago’s gay community, as well as veteran political sources in the city.

    The bath house, Man’s Country, caters to older white men and it has been in business for some 30 years and is known as one of uptown Chicago’s “grand old bathhouses.” WMR was told by sources who are familiar with the bath house that it provides one-year “lifetime” memberships to paying customers and that the club’s computerized files and pre-computer paper files, include membership information for both Obama and Emanuel. The data is as anonymized as possible for confidentiality purposes. However, sources close to “Man’s Country” believe the U.S. Secret Service has purged the computer and filing cabinet files of the membership data on Obama and Emanuel.

    Members of Man’s Country are also issued club identification cards. WMR learned that Obama and Emanuel possessed the ID cards, which were required for entry.

  12. Nothing surprises me anymore with this guy. Such blatant cronyism. This guy just doesn’t give a chit about anything else but getting re-elected. Even if it mean throwing Our money around to do it.

  13. the worst pay to play admin in my lifetime. They are so blatant about it. The sad part is he has no problem handing over taxpayers money.

  14. Wow… this guy is so gone in November. What a scumbag.

    Makes George W. look like a saint!! LMFAO @ Liberals crying all over the country.

    Even other countries think he sucks as president. now THAT is telling.

  15. Just keep watching. A couple of years ago one of Obama’s buddies took a lead position with an electronic medical records company that has one of the oldest and worst systems on the market. If ObamaCare goes into effect and all medical records have to go eletronic, guess who gets awarded the massive multi-billion dollar contract for that.

  16. Google “John Doerr” (Obama bundler and member of the Jobs Council) and follow the trail of Stimulus money to Doerr, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Barry himself.

  17. “There is no specific evidence that any of those linked to the Obamas, or the Obamas themselves, influenced the HHS decision to grant the funding to the UHI”

    Short version: Koffler just made up this completely unsubstantiated charge.

    • Yeah, it’s just a big coinky dinky that with over three thousand applications for the grant, his good buddy Eric Whitaker is one of 26 picked to get $6 million in taxpayer funds. If that’s what you believe, there is some oceanfront property in Arizona you should snap up while the price is cheap.

      Keith is following the money and reporting honestly.

    • I realize that most liberals are rather unintelligent and bad at math, so let me help you out: With 3,000 applicants and only twenty-six grants awarded, that means that any given applicant had a LESS THAN ONE PERCENT CHANCE of getting a grant, (.87% to be exact). Yet, what do you know, BHO’s best buddy just lucked out! Sure.

  18. This is the problem with all the waivers and awards. They always go to friends of the administration. It’s just a fancy way of increasing government power.

  19. We need to find out who his handlers are, and extradite them. The biggest lie perpetuated upon America was the empty suit called BHO. He’s a chameleon, who slithered silently through life, taking and discarding names, and was elected to every office he held only once. A blank slate, who has communistic ties. What is his real name?? Who is the real BHO?? His past is filled with communists, with radicals, including Frank Marshall Davis, Bernadine Dorn, Bill Ayers, Derrick Bell, and Jeremiah Wright. Three years after he’s finally gone, and we’ll still be searching for answers. I just want the faceless criminals, behind the scenes to feel our wrath.

    The majority of voters fell for that rhetoric the first time around, but they will not fall for it again. Why is that? Obama first presidential win was nothing more than the product of a marketing campaign that had the assistance of the mainstream media who did nothing to vet him and actually conspired (Journolist) to keep his negatives, or lack of experience from the general public.

  20. More Crony Capitalism with this POTUS being very generous with OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY!

    Is it November yet? Come on Mitt Romney, our soon-to-be 45th President of the United States. A REAL LEADER at last!

  21. only 5.9 million? Thats a mere bag of shells to the Chicago obama democrat machine. What will it buy? a few strays so Michelle can feed the homeless?

  22. Not bad, Mr. Kaiser— $10,000 investment
    $535,000,0000 return !
    The swamp is alive and well in D.C. !

    November can’t come soon enough…

  23. What’s the accusation here, besides innuendo and gossip. Is there any evidence that anybody did anything at all even remotely unethical? University of Chicago is a large research institution. They they’ve been awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in federal research grants, and Obama, having been a professor and lived in Chicago, probably knows lots of people with large grants. Even this article admits that the process was competitive, and in most academic awards processes the identity of the researcher is hidden from the people who initially score the grants. Is the author suggesting that qualified individuals should be barred from federal grants and contracts if they have a previous friendship with someone who latter becomes a powerful politician?

      • It’s cute to say, but realistically, research institutions apply for these types of awards often. We can reasonably assume that most of the 3000 application were not of high enough quality to be competitive and got culled in the first round (during which the authors would have been anonymous). The University of Chicago doesn’t turn in second rate applications so, realistically, they were only competing with the other large research institutions that chose to apply. Lots of organizations apply for everything, whether they’re qualified or not. That drives up the number of applications, but the author of this article is being dishonest when he tries to suggest that the University of Chicago’s application was one of 3,000 as though all 3000 application were competitive. There may have been (and probably were) fewer than 100 application good enough to be considered for funding and, as I said, U Chicago doesn’t bother writing applications that won’t be competitive.

  24. Can anyone say “Democratic Halliburton”? This was the Democrats biggest source to point Bush/Cheney as crony capitalists. However, the media will play deaf, dumb and blind taking HHS word for it and not exploring the connections to Obama cronies.

  25. […] The Urban Health Initiative, a University of Chicago Medical Center program tied to Michelle Obama and run by Obama family friend Eric Whitaker, has received nearly $6 million from the Department of Health and Human Services. The UHI won out over lots of competition. According to HHS, some 3,000 applications were received for a share on the $1 billion in 3-year grants available. Only 26 programs were included in the first batch of awards doled out.— Keith Koffler, White House Dossier […]

  26. […] The Urban Health Initiative, a University of Chicago Medical Center program tied to Michelle Obama and run by Obama family friend Eric Whitaker, has received nearly $6 million from the Department of Health and Human Services. The UHI won out over lots of competition. According to HHS, some 3,000 applications were received for a share on the $1 billion in 3-year grants available. Only 26 programs were included in the first batch of awards doled out.— Keith Koffler, White House Dossier […]

  27. I have to say…. Chicago is a big city. They have a lot of programs. And the Obama’s have a lot of connections. I don’t see enough direct connection to focus on here. If there was some hint of collusion, etc. you might make a case, but this isn’t as clear cut as Solyndra or any number of other examples.

  28. Wow, my comments were deleted after I pointed out the ways this author is honesty-challenged. Go figure. Conservatives now-a-days want sheep, not people.

    • I saw your lame post and even commented on. My guess is you are so in the tank for the Marxist that you aren’t capable of recognizing the truth. Liberals now-a-days defend liberty stealing demagogues, not their fellow Americans. Go figure.

  29. obama gives tax money to his friends. They’re democrats, that’s what they do, no surprise there. Lie, cheat, steal – the democrat and MSM way.

  30. Could you even begin to imagine this story leading the three big networks nightly for a week if President Bush did this. The Democrat’s corruption and big media’s complicity is the greatest crime in the nation since the bailouts. Solyndra, General Motors, and all the other disgusting examples of corruption only find the light of day because the World Wide Web gives freedom to real journalists.

  31. @Nelson the Cat

    It sounds more like you receive your talking points directly from Headquarters. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that Obama’a wife and FOB’s (Friends of Obama) are personally benefitting from taxpayer largesse. Whittaker’s application was just a formality – he is an FOB. If there is any doubt in your mind that it wasn’t a ‘fait accompli’ before the application was even mailed, I have a bridge to sell you.

    Maybe you can also explain why did Michelle LaVaughn’s salary went from under $100K to $317K immediately after the newly elected Senator endowed the U of C with a $1M grant? And why did her job remain vacant until just last week – coincidentallly at the same time the check to Whittaker was mailed? Could it be that part of the $6M that
    Whittaker received will pay the salary for Michelle’s replacement who, btw, happens to be another FOB?

    Funny how, after Michelle LaVaughn’s salary increase, the Obamas were able to buy the Hyde Park house – with the help of Rezko. They were able to hire personal chef, Sam Kass. None of this would have been possible before Obama became a State/ Federal employee.