By Julian Pecquet - 10/18/10 07:11 PM EDT
House Ways and Means Republicans wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday asking to know more about the department's $3 million in ad buys for the month of October.
The signees raise questions with TV ads featuring actor Andy Griffith, which HHS says are part of a routine campaign to inform seniors about Medicare's open enrollment period. The letter requests information by the end of the week on:
• How much HHS spent on similar TV ads for Medicare beneficiaries in years past;
• Where the ads have run in the past and where they're running now;
• Why the ads aren't running nationwide.
"As you know," the letter states, "it would be highly inappropriate and perhaps illegal if HHS used taxpayer funds to purchase advertisements in areas of the country with the intent of impacting competitive Congressional races leading up to the election."
The letter was signed by Ways and Means Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and health subcommittee Ranking Member Wally Herger (R-Calif.).