“In order to enroll beneficiaries in the exchange, HealthCare.gov collects, obtains and retains massive amounts of personally identifiable information about millions of Americans. This information includes Social Security numbers, personal addresses, income and employment records, and tax return records. It is extremely important that CMS and the other federal agencies involved in the exchanges properly protect and maintain this sensitive information,” the leaders write in a letter to the administration. “However, yesterday’s GAO report and the recent hacking of HealthCare.gov indicate that CMS is failing to perform this fundamental obligation.”
“Even as the Congressional investigation of IRS targeting continues, we have already evidence of abuses that necessitate reform. Congressman Tim Walberg’s bill, the SES Accountability Act, cracks down on abuses such as the practice of giving officials being fired for misconduct an extended vacation on paid administrative leave. Under Congressman Walberg’s proposal, senior leaders like IRS targeting figure Lois Lerner, would be required to repay taxpayers for salary received while on paid administrative leave if they are ultimately fired for misconduct. Congressman Mark Meadows’ Federal Records Accountability Act clarifies the law so that when an official like Lois Lerner willfully fails to follow procedures for archiving her work-related communications, it is understood to constitute intentional destruction of federal records that will subject the official to both termination and criminal prosecution. I also commend Congressman Charles Boustany of the House Ways & Means Committee for his bills that protect taxpayer rights. These new protections help level the playing field between taxpayers and the IRS officials who can turn their lives inside out through abusive audits and enhanced scrutiny.
“The Oversight Committee Minority has yet again shown the American people that they’re not capable of conducting the oversight that is a necessary part of good government,” said Chairman Issa. “This Committee attempted to pursue the Minority’s expressed desire to see evidence of wrongdoing and exhaust other options of looking at White House coordination of problematic political activity, but it’s clear that the Minority’s claims of interest in real oversight are hollow.
“The so-called ‘most transparent administration in history’ has given Congress inconsistent information since the beginning of the targeting scandal,” said Chairman Issa. “First, the Administration denied that targeting was occurring, and then ‘rogue agents’ in a field office were blamed for the misconduct. Today, months into the congressional investigation, we’re still getting conflicting information. This time, it’s on the number of individuals who experienced email losses. First it was only Lois Lerner, now we learn there are 5 others, several months after the administration supposedly came clean about email losses. Another source, TIGTA, tells Congress there are at least 8 individuals who may have lost emails. Initially, IRS said it confirmed that the email back-up tapes were recycled, but now TIGTA tells us that there are 760 unsearched exchange server drives. The IRS’s ever-changing story is practically impossible to follow at this point, as they modify it each time to accommodate new facts.
WASHINGTON – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) today announced that Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner must testify at the Oversight Committee on September 18th, 2014. This comes as news reports reveal that a hacker has breached the Healthcare.gov insurance website. “Considering…
“Even after a judge issues an order, this Administration continues to pursue a strategy of delay and obstruction against Constitutionally mandated oversight and the principle of transparency,” said Chairman Issa. “Reckless conduct in a Justice Department operation contributed to the deaths of a Border Patrol agent and countless Mexican citizens, but this Administration continues to fight making a full account of what it knew and when it knew it – not to mention why and how it came to make false statements to Congress about its conduct. The House of Representatives will vigorously oppose this new effort by the Justice Department to stay a judge’s order and its threat to delay the proceeding with piecemeal appeals if the request is not granted.”
“It appears that NRDC’s unprecedented access to high-level EPA officials allowed it to influence EPA policy decisions and achieve its own private agenda. Such collusive activities provide the NRDC, and their financial backers, with an inappropriate opportunity to wield the broad powers of the executive branch,” the Members wrote. “The fact that an ideological and partisan group drafted a rule that places a tremendous cost on everyday Americans through increased electricity prices is harmful and outrageous….Accordingly, these practices must cease immediately.”
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., requested yesterday that Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Thomas Perez provide documents and information related to wasteful spending and mismanagement at the Department of Labor. Information obtained by the Committee has raised questions regarding a pattern of frivolous spending, including…
“This new information about additional conflicts of interest within the Justice Department shows that almost every facet of the Department with an interest in the IRS targeting investigation is compromised,” the Chairmen wrote in the letter. “From the Civil Rights Division to the Public Integrity Section and the FBI, from the Tax Division to the Office of Legislative Affairs, the Justice Department has serious and wide-ranging conflicts of interest in its handling of the IRS targeting matter. With these startling revelations, we reiterate the bipartisan calls for the appointment of an independent special counsel. In addition, to better examine the actions and experiences of Andrew Strelka and Nicole Siegel at the IRS and the Justice Department, and for other relevant matters, we request that you make Mr. Strelka and Ms. Siegel available for transcribed interviews with Committee staff.”
“On July 28, 2014, our staffs met at the White House to discuss a way forward. My staff made a number of proposals that would allow the Committee to get the information we need. For instance, to accommodate the White House’s stated concerns about having Mr. Simas testify publicly, my staff proposed that the Committee question Mr. Simas in a deposition setting. I also made that request in a letter dated July 24, 2014. To accommodate the White House’s stated concerns about producing documents that implicate the presidential communications privilege, my staff proposed a more narrow production of documents that would exclude communications between the President and his advisers. Indeed, I narrowed my original document request in a letter dated August 12, 2014.”