Report comes on heels of another that found the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator violated federal regulations
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma used millions in federal taxpayer funds to pay for communications consultants with strong Republican ties to polish her own profile, potentially violating federal policies, a new report released Thursday by House and Senate Democratic committees alleges.
The new report — released jointly by the Democratic staff of the House Energy and Commerce, House Oversight and Reform, Senate Finance and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committees after a 17-month investigation — found that communications consultants billed the government rates of up to $380 per hour.
The report comes on the heels of a Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General report in July that said Verma violated federal regulations in her use of external communications contractors.
“In less than two years, Administrator Verma’s consultants charged CMS nearly $6 million for work that included boosting her public profile and personal brand, serving as her preferred communications advisors, arranging private meetings for her with media personalities and other high-profile individuals, and routinely traveling with her to events across the country,” the new report reads.
The report said that one of the consultants, who was not named, was awaiting sentencing on a felony conviction for lying to Congress and had spearheaded communications efforts on large policy initiatives, which allowed the outside consultant to learn market-sensitive information. Documents obtained by the committee appear to back up the claim that CMS leadership granted consultants access to confidential internal information such as proposed rules and policy planning.
“Documents indicate that, in multiple instances, CMS’s expenditures on private communications consultants were made to benefit Administrator Verma personally beyond her role as CMS Administrator and therefore appear to violate the prohibition on use of appropriated funds for personal expenses,” the report states.
More at the link above. They spend the taxpayer money on themselves but refuse services and assistance to the US taxpayer / lower incomes. Hugs