by Michael Cannon, CATO Institute
I blogged earlier about how HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is unethically, and possibly illegally, shaking down industries she regulates to get them to fund ObamaCare’s implementation.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the ranking member of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, says this is “arguably an even bigger issue [than] Iran-Contra,” and ably defends his position against the Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff.
Excerpts from Alexander’s comments:
[I]n Iran-Contra, you had $30 million that was spent by Oliver North through private organizations for a purpose congress refused to authorize, in support of the rebels. Here, you’re wanting to spend millions more in support of private organizations to do something that Congress has refused…
The cause in the first case was the cause of rebels in Nicaragua. And the cause here is to implement Obamacare. Congress has refused to appropriate more for that cause. The administration seems to be making a decision that’s called augmenting an appropriation. Its a constitutional offense that’s the issue…
If you read the report of the Iran-Contra select committee, it said that the executive cannot make an end run around Congress by raising money privately and spending it. That seems to be happening here. That was essentially the problem. There the money came from a different place, but if you look at my statement [the Iran-Contra report said] “a president whose appropriation requests were rejected by Congress could raise money from private sources or third countries for armies, military actions, arms systems, and even domestic programs.” [Emphasis added.] It’s the same kind of offense to the Constitution. It’s the same kind of thumbing your nose at Article 1…
If that’s what they’re saying…that Congress has refused to appropriate the money, then you can’t do it. That’s a curb on the executive.
Alexander has sent a letter to Sebelius requesting information about her extracurricular fundraising activities.
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