House Dem confronts reform critic on GOP connections

A senior House Democrat is asking an outspoken critic of the healthcare reform law to disclose his organization’s funding.

Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) asked Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former Congressional Budget Office director and current president of the conservative American Action Forum (AAF), to disclose the AAF’s funding sources in a Thursday morning letter.

Holtz-Eakin has repeatedly questioned CBO projections that the reform law would reduce the deficit by nearly a quarter-trillion dollars over 10 years. In testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee Wednesday, he said the reform law would increase healthcare costs.

Now Levin, the committee's ranking Democrat, is questioning whether Holtz-Eakin had a “conflict of interest” in presenting testimony to the committee. Levin said the AAF is billed as an “independent and nonpartisan research institution,” but Levin said the group has clear links to Republican sources, including former President George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove.

“Since you testified before the Ways and Means Committee, in order to rule out any conflict of interest in your testimony, I am requesting that you provide the Committee with the funding sources for the American Action Forum,” Levin said in the letter. “You and I are both aware that the IRS does not currently require disclosure of funding sources. However, it doesn’t prohibit disclosure either.”

The group said Thursday afternoon it received the letter.

“We have just received the letter, which is of obvious importance and which we take seriously," said AAF spokesman Jim Landry. "The American Action Forum is fully compliant with all disclosure requirements.”

This story was updated at 2:34 p.m. with the AAF response.