GOP Sen. Alexander: Fundraising to promote ObamaCare 'may be illegal'

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusSpecial counsel investigating DeVos for potential Hatch Act violation: report The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Mike Roman says 3M on track to deliver 2 billion respirators globally and 1 billion in US by end of year; US, Pfizer agree to 100M doses of COVID-19 vaccine that will be free to Americans The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former HHS Secretary Sebelius gives Trump administration a D in handling pandemic; Oxford, AstraZeneca report positive dual immunity results from early vaccine trial MORE might have broken the law by asking insurance companies to donate to outside groups promoting President Obama's healthcare law, Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderGraham: GOP has votes to confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Washington on edge amid SCOTUS vacancy This week: Supreme Court fight over Ginsburg's seat upends Congress's agenda MORE (R-Tenn.) said Saturday.

Alexander compared the fundraising to the Iran-Contra scandal.

"Secretary Sebelius’s fundraising for and coordinating with private entities helping to implement the new health care law may be illegal, should cease immediately and should be fully investigated by Congress," Alexander said in a statement.


The Washington Post reported Friday that Sebelius has asked insurance executives and community groups to contribute to Enroll America, a non-profit group created to promote the healthcare law and encourage people to enroll in its new coverage options.

Sebelius has undertaken the fundraising push because HHS has very little money to promote the healthcare law and Congress has refused to boost the implementation budget.

Alexander cited the Iran-Contra affair, in which Reagan official Oliver North raised money and directed it to Nicaraguan rebels. Congress said the fundraising was illegal if it used a private entity that "is in reality an arm of the government."

"If the Department of Health and Human Services closely coordinates with Enroll America and with other such entities, then the legal analogy with Iran-Contra is strong," Alexander said.

He said Sebelius might also have violated a federal law that says government employees cannot raise money from groups they regulate.