Remember the videos from the Center for Medical Progress and the thriving market in fetal organs it exposed? The media has insisted ever since that the videos have been “debunked,” but the House investigation into these markets has proceeded for the last eight months. Energy and Commerce chair Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) joined me just a few minutes ago on Facebook Live between votes on Capitol Hill, and tells me in this exclusive* interview that the videos have proven to provide important information. Most interestingly, CMP’s publication of the videos last summer and the select investigative panel’s follow-up has produced a significant response from whistleblowers that tend to corroborate CMP’s allegations of profit-driven organ sales:
The panel’s website has a form for whistleblowers to use — and use it they have, according to Blackburn. The panel has already used some information to pass along to the Inspector General of HHS for another potential investigation. In an April hearing, the committee heard testimony from three former Justice prosecutors — from administrations of both parties, according to Blackburn — who testified that Congress needs to continue its investigation:
Democrats argued that no state has brought charges against Planned Parenthood or any other provider despite issues raised in the explosive videos, but the three prosecutors said a federal investigation is still warranted.
“Based on my review of the exhibits, a competent, ethical federal prosecutor could establish probable cause that both the abortion clinics and the procurement business violated the statute, aided and abetted one another in violating the statute, and likely conspired together to violate the statute,” said Brian P. Lennon, a former federal prosecutor in Michigan and Virginia.
He cited exhibits, including billing information, consent forms and brochures, unearthed in a majority staff investigation.
Kenneth W. Sukhia, former U.S. attorney for North Florida, said that the evidence in the exhibits “justifies a thorough investigation.”
“Accounting and marketing materials from the fetal tissue procurement business demonstrate beyond question that there is more than sufficient cause to support a full investigation by federal authorities to determine if such practices violate the felony provisions of [the statute],” Mr. Sukhia said.
Federal law forbids anyone from “knowingly” acquiring, receiving or transferring “any human fetal tissue for valuable consideration.”
The term “valuable consideration” excludes “reasonable payments associated with the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control, or storage of human fetal tissue.”
Former U.S. Attorney for Colorado Michael Norton testified that the videos released last year show Planned Parenthood officials “may well have violated [the statute] and, if so, there should be some accountability on the part of the wrongdoers.”
The panel also discovered likely HIPAA violations, as Blackburn explained in a referral, which constitute a betrayal of the doctor-patient relationship. In fact, it turns the patient into a commodity:
In other words, while the media keeps insisting that the issue has been “debunked,” the investigation so far suggests something far different — and serious.
* – As normal, this uses the normal media definition of “exclusive” as “no other news organization was on the call with us.”