Cummings Seeks Subpoena for Documents on Trump Administration’s Secret Collaboration with Anti-Choice Group to Target Planned Parenthood

Feb 27, 2018
Press Release

Cummings Seeks Subpoena for Documents on

Trump Administration’s Secret Collaboration with

Anti-Choice Group to Target Planned Parenthood


Washington, D.C. (Feb. 27, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter requesting that Chairman Trey Gowdy issue a subpoena to compel the Trump Administration to produce documents it is withholding relating to its secret collaboration with an extreme right-wing anti-choice group—Alliance Defending Freedom—in rescinding an Obama Administration letter to state Medicaid directors that protected individuals seeking to exercise their statutory rights to obtain family planning or other health care services from a provider of their choice.

“It is one of our Committee’s core responsibilities to protect against unwarranted—and secret—influence by outside entities on U.S. policies, particularly when they seek to diminish or undercut the statutory rights of American citizens,” Ranking Member Cummings wrote.

Earlier this month, Cummings wrote to the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) after a whistleblower provided documents indicating that Alliance Defending Freedom was behind an effort by the Trump Administration on January 19, 2018, to help states terminate Planned Parenthood as a healthcare provider for Medicaid beneficiaries.  Cummings requested documents relating to this issue by February 26, 2018.

“[T]he Trump Administration has provided no response whatsoever, has produced none of the documents that were requested, and has denied none of these allegations,” Ranking Cummings wrote.

The documents provided by the whistleblower indicate that:

  • Trump Administration appointees—on direct instructions from the Deputy Secretary’s office—rushed to rescind the 2016 letter as an “utmost priority” with a “very quick turnaround”;

  • a first draft of the letter was provided to the Trump Administration by Alliance Defending Freedom and was finalized a week later on January 19, 2018—in time for the March for Life rally in Washington D.C.; and

  • numerous Trump Administration appointees at HHS and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services were directly involved in this effort—including many with a history of unfairly targeting Planned Parenthood—but the documents do not indicate whether White House or other Administration officials were a part of this effort.

“As I explained in my letter to HHS, the documents provided by the whistleblower raise serious concerns about whether the Trump Administration is now taking orders from an extreme right-wing interest group that is trying to deny American citizens the ability to exercise their right to obtain family planning services from the provider of their choice, which is guaranteed by federal statute,” Ranking Member Cummings wrote.  “In addition, the documents raise grave questions about the legitimacy of the Trump Administration’s letter to state Medicaid directors on January 19, which appears to be a clandestine effort to tip the scales of justice in favor of states that are targeting Planned Parenthood in violation of federal law.”

Cummings requested that Gowdy issue subpoenas to HHS and CMS, by March 13, 2018, for all documents in their custody, control, or possession referring or relating to this matter.  If Gowdy declines, Cummings asked that this matter be placed on the agenda for the next regularly scheduled business meeting.

Click here to read today’s letter from Ranking Member Cummings.

Click here to read his previous letter to the HHS Deputy Secretary.

Click here to read the emails among Trump Administration officials.

Click here to read the first draft of a letter apparently drafted by Alliance Defending Freedom. 

115th Congress