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Grassley Warns HHS Web Site May Be ‘Propaganda’

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John Stanton
Roll Call
Thursday, Oct 22nd, 2009

Senate Finance ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is raising concerns that a Department of Health and Human Services Web site that urges visitors to send an e-mail to President Barack Obama praising his health care reform plan may violate rules against government-funded propaganda.

The Web page is accessed through a “state your support” button featured prominently on the HHS Web site and carries a disclaimer that the Web site is maintained by HHS.

In a letter sent to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Tuesday, Grassley warned that “any possible misuse of appropriated funds by the executive branch to engage in publicity or propaganda in support of an Administration priority is a matter that must be investigated and taken seriously,” noting that in 2005 Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) argued that “the use of official funds for similar activities were ‘underhanded tactics’ and that these tactics ‘are not worthy of our great democracy.’”

The form letter on the “state your support” page includes language hailing Obama’s efforts. “We strongly support your commitment to comprehensive health reform. This is not a luxury. The continuing, sharp escalation of health care costs for families, businesses, and government is unsustainable. Reform is imperative. We believe that health reform must be enacted this year,” the letter says.

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This article was posted: Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 3:30 am





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