The earlier ObamaCare undercover videos from James O’Keefe and Project Veritas caught “navigators” encouraging people to lie on their applications, in order to score bigger taxpayer subsidies and lower premiums. The third video in the series catches the communications director for Enroll America of Texas – a group required by law to remain non-partisan, in order to receive a 501(c)(3) tax exemption – offering to hand over private and confidential ObamaCare enrollment data to someone he believes is a political activist, who offers to pay for the data.
President Obama’s health care takeover may be an epic failure when it comes to affordable insurance, but it’s been very successful at pumping money and information to hard-Left activists. The previous Veritas videos captured a very cozy relationship between Democrat Party operatives looking to “turn Texas blue” and the ObamaCare apparatus.
This one would appear to have uncovered a conspiracy to commit a federal crime. Enroll America comms director Christopher Tarango mentions other people in his organization he believes would be willing to play along. He clearly knows the offer he makes is illegal. He is initially reluctant to go along with the scheme, mentions that someone else has already been busted for a similar offense, and repeatedly emphasizes that his conversation with the undercover video maker must be kept secret. But he warms up to the proposal, especially after his gigantic ego has been stroked a bit, and he likes the general idea of using ObamaCare data for political purposes.
The continuation of Enroll America’s tax-exempt status in the wake of this video would be beyond absurd. Treasury agents should be swarming their offices from coast to coast. In addition to the data theft crime discussed by Tarango, he brags that he’s simultaneously working as a partisan Democrat operative. He knows how wrong that is, too, because in mid-boast he admits, “I shouldn’t be saying this” because what he’s doing is “as partisan as it gets.” He also brags about how much political “talent” has been shared between partisan organizations and Enroll America, chirping “we’re all Obama people.” He couldn’t be much clearer about the wide and deep links between Enroll America and Barack Obama’s political machine.
According to the Daily Caller, the new Veritas video has already prompted a call for legal action:
O???Keefe???s footage was enough to prompt the legal advocacy group Cause of Action to write a letter to the attorney general of the state of Texas asking for an investigation of Enroll America???s tax-exempt status.
???There may be violations of Texas law as well, including but not limited to: the state False Claims Act; conspiracy to commit Medicaid fraud; and consumer fraud,??? according to the letter.
???You may wish to evaluate whether entities such as Enroll America and Battleground Texas are adhering to both state and federal law regarding 501(c)(3) nonprofits and 527 political action committees. Any violations of the Internal Revenue Code may be referred to the Department of Justice or the Internal Revenue Service. Moreover, Texas has the oversight capability to ensure that federal funds are used in a transparent, accountable, and legally compliant manner,??? according to the letter.
???You must promptly refer to the HHS Office of Inspector General any credible evidence that a principal, employee, agent, contractor, subrecipient, subcontractor, or other person or entity has submitted a false claim under the False Claims Act, or has committed a criminal or civil violation pertaining to fraud, conflict of interest, bribery, gratuity, or similar misconduct involving those funds,??? according to the letter.
You may recall that the IRS has extremely strict standards for granting tax-exempt status. Just ask any pro-life group that was commanded to hand over its prayer books for review.
This is also going to be another headache for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who is already the subject of an ethics investigation for her ties to Enroll America, and accusations that she abused the powers of her office to raise funds for them. Ever the gentleman, James O’Keefe gave her a heads-up on Twitter yesterday:
??? James O’Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) November 19, 2013
Well, at least if she’s busy with this, Sebelius will be spared the embarrassment of doing another ObamaCare demo in which Helathcare.gov crashes right in front of her face. That happened again yesterday in Miami.