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Boustany Questions Obama Administration’s Use of Taxpayer Dollars on PR Campaigns

May 22, 2012

Washington, DC – Today, Subcommittee on Oversight Chairman Charles Boustany Jr., M.D. (R-LA) requested information on how much has been spent by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for public relations, advertisements, polling and message testing since January 1, 2008.  The letter follows various news reports detailing millions in taxpayer dollars going to public relations campaigns to promote the Democrats’ health care law.

Boustany stated: “Raising public awareness is one thing, but using taxpayer dollars to raise your reelection chances is crossing the line.  The majority of Americans oppose the Democrats’ health care law.  HHS needs to explain why the Obama Administration is spending millions of dollars trying to convince them otherwise, and they need to do so before millions more in campaign-style spending goes out the door.  The American people deserve to know how their money is being spent by this Administration.”

It was recently revealed that the Administration spent $20 million on a contract awarded by HHS to a public relations firm to “educate” consumers about the preventive services in the Democrats’ heath care law.  Last year, the Administration spent over $1 million sending out 4 million postcards to small business owners touting their “eligibility” for the Small Business Tax Credit.  A recent Government Accountability Office report found that about 170,000 small businesses claimed the credit in 2010 – a take-up rate of less than five percent.

“We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg,” Boustany stated.  “We don’t yet know the full amount of taxpayer dollars spent on polling, message development and focus groups on the way to ‘market’ government-run health care exchanges.”

The full text of the letter can be read here.