Democratic Committee Leaders Reassert Request for Information on Verma’s Use of Private Contractors

Dec 17, 2019
Press Release
“Failure to provide the requested information and documents by January 9 may require us to use alternative methods to obtain information about the awarding of these contracts.”

Washington, D.C. – Democratic House and Senate Committee leaders sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar today reiterating their March 2019 request for information and documents concerning Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma’s lavish use of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds on private consultants who were brought on to polish her public image.  

Today’s letter was signed by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), House Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Senate Finance Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA).

“Over eight months after we sent our letter, HHS has failed to fully respond to our requests for information and documents,” the Democratic Committee leaders wrote.  “While HHS has made three document productions, these productions have been woefully inadequate.  Of particular concern, HHS has not produced documents from custodians in CMS’s Office of the Administrator.”

In their letter, the members request that HHS prioritize the production of communications from CMS’s Office of the Administrator regarding the selection, involvement, and activities of the private consultants, and note that this prioritization should not impede HHS’s efforts to respond to the remaining requests in a timely manner.  In their letter, the members request that HHS prioritize the production of communications from CMS’s Office of the Administrator and note that this prioritization should not impede HHS’s efforts to respond to the remaining requests in a timely manner.

The letter also includes previously unreleased documents that were produced by HHS in the course of the inquiry.  The documents underscore questions about the role that Administrator Verma and her top advisors played in selecting the private consultants and show that these consultants closely coordinated with Administrator Verma’s office on media opportunities.  

“The documents that have been produced to date raise concerns that HHS is holding back significant amounts of relevant information,” the Committee leaders continued. “The documents also underscore questions about the role that Administrator Verma and her top advisors played in selecting the private consultants.”

The Committee leaders are requesting the information and documents be provided no later than January 9, 2020. 

Read the letter here.

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Issues: 
116th Congress