Nonetheless, that kind of activity is precisely what HHS is doling out most of the money for. Walter Olson provides some examples at the Cato blog: “A $7 million grant to activists in the St. Louis area went in part toward lobbying for the repeal of a state law barring municipal tobacco taxes.” Olson goes on to quote a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Health on how its $1.5 million grant was used: “‘210 policy makers were contacted … 31 ordinances were passed … there were 26 community presentations made to local governments.’”
These examples, along with others cited by Taylor and Olson, are obviously the result of federal tax dollars being used to influence state and local officials “to favor, adopt, or oppose” legislation. It will come as no surprise, however, that the establishment “news” media have been as silent as the tomb on the issue. A few Republican lawmakers have pressed HHS on it, including Rep. Fred Upton of the House Energy & Commerce Committee and Darrell Issa of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Pursuant to Obama administration policy, however, inquiries from Upton, Issa, and others on Capitol Hill have been largely ignored. Likewise, Sebelius and her minions have paid little heed to the concerns raised by her department’s own Inspector General.