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Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius violated federal law by campaigning for PresidentObama on the taxpayers’ dime, but now that initial violation has the Democratic National Committee and anHHS aide in the spotlight for related alleged infractions.A nonprofit government watchdog filed a complaint alleging that the DNC violated campaign finance law bymisreporting the money it spent to reimburse HHS for Sebelius’ trip in a way that masked the fact that the HatchAct, a ban on political campaigning by government employees working in their official capacity, had beenviolated.“The DNC described the purpose of the expenditure as simply as ‘travel,’ thereby avoiding anyacknowledgement that the purpose of the expenditure was to reimburse the federal government for SecretarySebelius’ Hatch Act violation,” Cause of Action explained in a complaint to theFederal Elections Commission.If the DNC had described properly the expenditures, which were paid out in April and August of 2012, it wouldhave implicitly admitted that the law had been broken even before the Office of Special Counsel concluded itsinvestigation into Sebelius’ trip to North Carolina, where she spoke at the Human Rights Campaign Gala.Sebelius attended the gala on official business, but added extemporaneous remarks in support of PresidentObama and a Democratic gubernatorial candidate.“Not only is it that the DNC is not being transparent about what it’s using its funds for reimbursement of, but it’salso violating the intent and letter of the Federal Elections Campaign Act,” Cause of Action’s Dan Epstein said ina phone interview with
The Washington Examiner.
“Whether it’s to cover up the Hatch Act violation or to just notproperly report it, it’s very clear that it’s not properly reported — [for] the reason why, one would have to look intothe minds of the lawyers at the DNC.”Epstein floated the idea that the DNC reimbursed HHS (rather than the Treasury Department) and classified itas travel, rather than as a reimbursement for an independent expenditure in order to avoid the appearance thatthe Treasury Department had effectively loaned money to the Obama campaign for the trip (which would beanother violation of federal law, he said).Cause of Action also noted another wrinkle: HHS’ reclassification of the trip as a campaign trip means that A.J.Pearlman, the adviser who traveled to the event with Sebelius, also violated the Hatch Act.“That assistant’s participation in the event in North Carolina would in fact be a Hatch Act violation,” Cause ofAction said in another complaint to the Office of Special Counsel.Cause of Action blamed Obama and Sebelius for compromising Pearlman. “The consequence here is that A.J.Pearlman is thrown under the bus by Sebelius. Sebelius asked the DNC to reimburse HHS for A.J. Pearlman’sactivities, which basically [means] A.J. Pearlman violated the Hatch Act, which means A.J. Pearlman needs tobe disciplined, most likely fired,” Epstein explained. “Even though she didn’t intend to engage in any politicalactivity, she was just doing what she was told.”An OSC spokesperson said it could not comment on the Hatch Act complaint, due to privacy laws.
January 30, 2013 | 4:27 pm | Modified: January 30, 2013 at 5:20 pm
Complaint: Sebelius’ illegal campaign trip for Obama worse than we tho...http://washingtonexaminer.com/article/2520096?slideout=11 of 21/30/2013 8:44 PM