At a meeting of the Senate Small Business Committee on Thursday, five Republican senators voted to block Chairman David Vitter’s (R-LA) attempt to issue a subpoena necessary to investigate potential health exchange fraud by other members of congress. According to sources on the Hill, however, the opposition was surprisingly led by Committee member and presidential candidate, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).
The subpoena, as written, would require recipients to appear before a hearing so the committee can determine “DCHBEA’s knowledge of and role in permitting members, staff, administrators, officials and/or employees of the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate…to be eligible for benefits from DCHBEA, including but not limited to, on DCHBEA’s Small Business Exchange.
Section 1304 of Obamacare defines a “small employer” as an entity employing no more than 100 employees during the previous year. However, the District of Columbia opted under the section to define a “small employer” as one with “not more than 50 employees during the preceding calendar year.”
Redacted documents provided to CR show the House and Senate applying for exchange benefits while each claiming to have employed in totality only 45 persons in the previous calendar year. The subpoena would allow the Small Business Committee to determine the truth behind Congress’ clearly fraudulent applications for coverage and could potentially lead to Congress fully complying with Obamacare and the removal of their special taxpayer-funded health care subsidy.
According to a recent statement by Senator Vitter, “the goal of this investigation is to find out who authorized the decision to allow Congress — which employs nearly 16,000 people — to join Obamacare as a ‘small business’ and receive a special taxpayer-funded subsidy that is not available to the rest of America…We are seeking accountability within the body that creates this nation’s laws and moving forward with the subpoena process in a transparent manner.”
According to a congressional aide close to the situation, every senator on the GOP side of the Committee except for Paul initially agreed to issue the subpoena. Under Committee rules, a simple statement of agreement is enough for a member to consent to issuing a subpoena.
CR’s multiple sources say that every GOP member of the committee signed such a statement with the exception of Senator Paul. When Paul was repeatedly contacted for his position, he initially said that he would have to speak with Senate leadership. After he and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) were briefed on the scope and necessity of the subpoena, Paul ultimately declined.
What happened next, was that four other Committee members with close ties to the majority leader’s office each rescinded their consent one by one, thus leading to the measure’s defeat in committee. Our sources tell us that the flips were an effort on behalf of the leadership to provide political cover for Paul, who would have otherwise been the lone holdout.
A congressional aide to Senator Paul told Conservative Review that “Senator Paul opposes allowing Congress to exempt themselves from any legislation. To that end, yesterday, he reintroduced his proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit Congress from passing any law that exempts themselves. Senator Paul prefers this option over a partisan cross-examination of Congressional staff.”
While bipartisan congeniality and the spirit of the constitutional amendment seem like admirable goals at face value, the Paul proposed constitutional amendment does nothing to address the issue at hand. As Section 1312 of Obamacare specifically includes Congress in Obamacare. Rather in this case Congress has perpetuated an act of fraud and therefore now receives special healthcare benefits at increased cost to the taxpayer.
Paul’s statement and vote also runs contrary to statements that the presidential candidate has made about Congress and his campaign’s vow to “defeat the Washington machine.” At his campaign announcement in Louisville, KY, the presidential hopeful said, “I want to reform Washington. I want common sense rules that will break the logjam in Congress.”
Blocking the subpoena measure also runs contrary to the Kentucky Senator’s desire to “Audit the Fed” in the name of government transparency and accountability.
It seems to observers that in his claimed attempt to avoid a “partisan investigation,” Paul has contributed to the logjam created by the “Washington machine.” Where the senator had a chance to stand for the exact kind of congressional transparency and reform he touted as part of his campaign platform, Paul has now shown that actual fraud committed within the halls of congress is off limits.