Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sebelius Violated Hatch - Obama Refused to Act

Sebelius Violated Hatch – Obama Refused to Act
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
September 23, 2012

Barack Obama has once again put his weak spine on display. This time for failing to act on the violation of the Hatch Act* by his Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

Sebelius, a Democrat, who signed the ethics pledge, committed numerous ethics violations prior to her being selected as HHS Secretary while serving as Governor of Kansas (2003-09), and should never been nominated, let alone confirmed, 65-31, by the Democrat-majority Senate.

To be fair, nine Republican senators aided and abetted in the confirmation of Sebelius when they had the power to thwart the nomination from succeeding. Far too often cabinet nominees are rubber stamped to confirmation with little to no real opposition. All 31 no votes were cast by GOP senators while 54 Democrats and two independents supported Sebelius. (

That the cadre of Democrats would vote along party lines is simply a matter of loyalty and not surprising. After all, Sebelius was supposedly vetted by both Obama as well as the senators conducting the confirmation hearings. But if she were in fact vetted, why was the following neither uncovered or if it was, not a concern for the 65 senators who voted to confirm Sebelius?

While Kansas governor, Sebelius hosted, at taxpayer expense, a party at the governor’s mansion for George Tiller, of late-term abortion fame and his entire clinic staff of roughly two dozen people. Tiller, a major financial contributor to Sebelius’ campaigns, was under criminal investigation at the time of the party, and later charged with violating the post-viability law of Kansas. (

Sebelius was caught in a meek attempt to spin the event as something it wasn’t, then ultimately lied about the funding and expenses of that and another event. During her Senate confirmation hearings the subject of Tiller and money came up, and again, more spinning and discrepancies presented that should have raised numerous red flags for the confirmation committee.

Instead, Sebelius sailed through confirmation. It was no surprise that GOP senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Dick Lugar (IN), George Voinovich (OH), and Arlen Specter (PA) voted to confirm as they are moderates at best.

Lugar was subsequently defeated in a 2012 GOP primary by Richard Mourdock. Specter jumped ship and returned to his Democrat roots in 2009 and was also ousted from the Senate in a primary losing to Joe Sestak, who in turn suffered defeat at the hand of current GOP Senator Pat Toomey. Voinovich since retired while both Maine senators continue their service.

More surprising were the votes from conservatives Judd Gregg (NH), Kit Bond (MO) and Kansas Senators Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts. Perhaps the two Kansans supported Sebelius out of state loyalty, but that is not a valid reason to confirm someone to a cabinet position with an ethically challenged past. Bond and Gregg have since retired; Brownback is currently Sebelius’ successor in Topeka while Roberts continues to serve in the Senate.

More recently, Sebelius continued to tarnish her ethics record, twice this year and both times in Charlotte, NC – once in February speaking at a taxpayer-funded event supporting local Democratic candidates and just earlier this month at the Democratic National Convention, endorsing the reelection of Barack Obama. Both the Charlotte events involved cover ups and reimbursements of funds by a complicit DNC to make it appear as though Sebelius did not violate the Hatch Act, but such attempts were clearly unsuccessful.

While it is not practical to fire or ask for Sebelius’ resignation from her HHS post as the 2012 election is but six weeks away, Obama has a responsibility to do so anyway. The HHS Undersecretary can certainly keep the department afloat for three months, after Obama spends more of his time on the campaign trail and visiting a radio DJ called Pimp with a Limp, as well as talk shows like The View and David Letterman while the nation is in crisis.

About 10 days ago the Office of Special Council determined that Sebelius indeed did break the law by violating the Hatch Act and referred the matter to the White House “for disciplinary action. The usual penalty for such an infraction would be removal from office.” (

Obama promised his would be the most transparent administration in history. Far from it, as he uses executive orders, recess appointments and avoids the Washington press corps as often as possible in an effort to subjugate his opponents, whom he has often called “enemies.” This is the least transparent administration since the days of Richard M. Nixon. Obama took no action against Sebelius, continuing to demonstrate weakness both at home and abroad.

*Enacted in 1939, the Hatch Act (5 U.S.C.A. 7324) curbs the political activities of employees in federal, state, and local governments. The law's goal is to enforce political neutrality among civil servants: the act prohibits them from holding public office, influencing elections, participating in or managing political campaigns, and exerting Undue Influence on government hiring. Penalties for violations range from warnings to dismissal. The law's restrictions have always been controversial. Critics have long argued that the act violates the First Amendment freedoms of government employees. The U.S. Supreme Court has disagreed, twice upholding the law's constitutionality.  (

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

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