Issa to Sebelius: Telling Contractors to Stonewall Congress Is 'Criminal Obstruction'

Issa to Sebelius: Telling Contractors to Stonewall Congress Is 'Criminal Obstruction'

On Wednesday, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, angrily telling her that HHS’ attempts to block contractors from giving information to Congress on Obamacare was a violation of law. On December 6, HHS told Creative Computing Solutions, Inc. not to give information to the Oversight Committee, stating, “If you receive a request for this information from Congress, CMS will respond directly to the requestor[.]”

Issa wrote, “The Department’s most recent effort to stonewall, however, has morphed from mere obstinacy into criminal obstruction of a congressional investigation.” He added, “Obstructing a Congressional investigation is a crime. The federal obstruction laws reflect the fact that Congress’ right of access to information is constitutionally based and critical to the integrity and effectiveness of our oversight and investigative activities.  For that reason, it is widely understood that private citizens and companies cannot contract away their duty to comply with a congressional request for documents.”

Under the law, Issa pointed out, “any effort to enforce a contract that prevents a federal employee – or in this case, a contractor – from communicating from Congress is unlawful.” 

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