Report Raises Questions About White House Role in Obamacare Fundraising

A new report is raising questions about the involvement of a top White House health care aide in the administration’s effort to fundraise to promote Obamacare enrollment.

The Government Accountability Office, Congress’s investigative arm, released a report early Monday on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ fundraising on behalf of Enroll America, a nonprofit founded by former Obama campaign and White House staffers to help promote enrollment in the federal exchanges.

Previously, Sebelius was the only public official to come forward and confirm she was involved in outside fundraising to promote Obamacare, but the GAO report also details activities of a senior White House aide.

Sebelius has acknowledged that after Congress stopped providing money for Obamacare’s implementation in 2011, she solicited five entities to support Enroll America, but only asked for direct financial support from private entities that HHS does not regulate. Those entities included the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and H&R Block.

HHS told the GAO that Sebelius made phone calls to the CEOs of three other organizations, Kaiser, Ascension Health and Johnson & Johnson, but only asked for nonfinancial support such as “technical assistance.”

The GAO report, though, added that during its investigation, a “representative” of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said the deputy assistant to the president for health policy during a 2012 discussion “indicated a hope that R.W.J.F. would provide a significant financial contribution to support [Enroll America’s] efforts” and said Enroll America and other similar national enrollment organizations would likely need $30 million to finance a national Obamacare promotional effort.