Issa to Sebelius: I Will Enforce Subpoena for ACA Documents

Wednesday, 14 May 2014 10:26 PM

By Cathy Burke

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House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, a dogged critic of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' part in Obamacare's rollout woes, lobbed a parting shot at the outgoing official Wednesday.

In a letter, the California Republican lawmaker accused Sebelius of failing to comply with a subpoena for documents related to last year's flawed launch, warning he'd "have no alternative but to consider the full range of options to enforce the subpoena" if her department fails to hand over the information.

He made the first call for documents last October. And while the HHS passed along 111,000 pages of information, Issa complained that much of it was heavily redacted, The Hill noted.

"The department's substantial delay in production, combined with its improper redactions, has obstructed the committee's investigation," Issa charged.

"The department's failure to comply fully hinders the committee's constitutional obligation to conduct oversight of the executive branch."

Sebelius has one foot out the door at HHS. The Senate is expected to soon confirm Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be her successor, Fox News reported Wednesday.

Issa's letter bitterly complains that HHS is throwing a monkey wrench into the committee's investigation by telling contractors not to comply with the subpoena – even hinting that the White House is in on the foot-dragging.

"On February 25, 2014, committee staff met with representatives of the Office of Counsel to the President to discuss the White House's role in the departments response to the committee's subpoena," Issa wrote.

"During the meeting, Counsel's Office staff communicated that the White House does in fact have equities in certain documents covered by the subpoena, and that the White House was withholding those documents for further White House review."

Issa demanded the HHS give all the documents it has reviewed, everything it's sent to the White House to review, and all the documents that haven't been turned over – and an explanation of why.

Issa gave Sebelius' department until May 28 to comply with the committee's demands.

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