White House mum on ObamaCare subpoena

The White House on Tuesday declined to say whether an official who is working to fix the ObamaCare website would comply with a House Oversight Committee subpoena by testifying at a Wednesday hearing.

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Press secretary Jay Carney bemoaned the ”unnecessary step” of chairman Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) subpoena, and said Todd Park, the administration’s chief technology officer (CTO), would be available at some point.

Carney said it was “not a matter of if, but when” Park would testify, but didn’t specifically address a question about whether the CTO would appear before Wednesday’s committee hearing.

Park’s subpoena has sparked intense political fighting between Democrats and Republicans.

On Monday, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee demanded that Issa withdraw the “misguided” subpoena. In a blistering letter, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) accused Issa of hurling “unfounded accusations” against Park.

“The evidence before our committee demonstrates that Mr. Park is an honest and exemplary public servant, and your unsubstantiated public attacks against his integrity are a deficient basis on which to justify a subpoena against him,” Cummings wrote.

Cummings said Issa’s subpoena was “diverting Mr. Park’s energies” from his work and could “seriously impair” the race to repair HealthCare.gov.

Issa subpoenaed Park last week, ordering him to testify Wednesday before the Oversight Committee, when a handful of other Obama administration officials are scheduled to testify.

Issa says he’s offered a handful of opportunities for Park to speak in front of his committee but was continuously rebuffed by the White House, which said Park was too busy to appear.

Issa said Park’s “long history of involvement in the development and rollout of HealthCare.Gov” made his testimony crucial to ensuring the site gets fixed.

Park’s office has also pushed back against the subpoena.

Donna Pignatelli, the assistant director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), wrote a letter to Issa that said the agency had made numerous attempts to accommodate the chairman’s request for a briefing with Park.

“These efforts to accommodate your interest in hearing from Mr. Park were rebuffed and met instead with a subpoena threat in your letter yesterday,” Pignatelli wrote.

“You explained that the Committee feels it has a duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch, but conspicuously absent from your letter was any statement or justification that would explain the legislative need to compel Mr. Park to appear next week as opposed to a few weeks from now.”

“OSTP is left to wonder why you would demand Mr. Park appear on November 13, knowing that doing so is more likely to hurt rather than help the goal of fixing the website as soon as possible,” she wrote.