"If you read the report of the Iran-Contra select committee, it said that the executive cannot make an end run around Congress by raising money privately and spending it," Alexander said. "That seems to be happening here. That was essentially the problem."
He added, "The cause here is to implement ObamaCare. Congress has refused to appropriate more for that cause. The administration seems to be making a decision that’s called augmenting an appropriation. It's a constitutional offense that’s the issue."
In the Iran-Contra affair, senior Reagan administration officials sold arms to Iran and, without congressional approval, used proceeds to fund rebels fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.
HHS has defended Sebelius's actions as legal and necessary to enact a law that will "help uninsured Americans take advantage of new, quality, affordable insurance options."
Alexander sent a critical letter to Sebelius Monday and will call on government auditors to investigate her actions. GOP-led House panels have also launched their own probe.
He was not the only GOP senator to invoke Irangate last week.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Friday that the administration's handling of last year's attack in Benghazi, Libya, — another major target for conservatives — was more like Iran-Contra than Watergate.