Alexander likens Sebelius to Iran-Contra figure Oliver North

In an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal, Alexander said that like North, who was accused of trying to circumvent a congressional ban on providing aid to rebel groups in Nicaragua in the 1980s, Sebelius was trying to bypass Congress to find funds to roll out ObamaCare.

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“Article I of the U.S. Constitution does not permit government officials to spend money that Congress has refused to authorize or appropriate. Federal laws such as the Anti-Deficiency Act make this behavior unlawful,” wrote Alexander.

“There is, of course, a difference between Nicaraguan rebels and healthcare. With Iran-Contra, Congress had also prohibited support for the rebels, while in the case of healthcare funding, Congress has refused to provide the amounts that the administration has asked for. But the principle and the legal prohibitions are the same.”

Alexander said that the “Obama administration is not the first to chafe under these restraints, but it has been among the most flagrant in ignoring them.”

Sebelius has faced criticism from GOP lawmakers for her role in helping Enroll America, an outside group that is encouraging people to enroll in the healthcare law’s coverage options. 

Critics fear the presence of a number of former and current administration officials working with the group could lead to undue pressure on health industry and community public health groups to donate. 

Alexander has been one of Sebelius’s toughest critics, suggesting that the fundraising on behalf of the healthcare law “may be illegal” by raising money from groups she regulates.

However, HHS has said that Sebelius has not pitched fundraising appeals to groups that would be regulated by her department, and has defended her involvement only as a way to help advance the administration’s healthcare goals.

“If the money being raised by Ms. Sebelius is being spent to do an end-run around Congress, then the Obama administration had better brush up on its Iran-Contra history,” Alexander wrote.