O’Keefe video captures nonprofit Obamacare enrollment group conspiring to engage in political activity
An official with the nonprofit Obamacare enrollment group Enroll America conspired to give people’s personal information to what he thought was a political action committee, according to James O’Keefe’s latest video, provided to The Daily Caller.
Enroll America, which Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted to fundraising for, is a “nonpartisan” 501(c)(3) nonprofit that critics accuse of working as an unofficial Obamacare navigator across the country.
Enroll America’s Texas state communications lead Christopher Tarango conspired to provide a list of potential Obamacare enrollees, obtained through the “commit cards” that the group hands out door to door to help them pick insurance plans, to an O’Keefe investigator posing as the representative of a political action committee.
Tarango also admitted that someone tried to export a list from the nonprofit pro-Obama advocacy group Organizing for Action [OFA] to a political campaign, but that the attempted leaker was caught.
“I still don’t think we can get a list from Enroll America because of the 501(c)(3) status. How do you suppose we get around that?,” Tarango told the investigator from O’Keefe’s group Project Veritas, who tried to purchase the list from Tarango on November 8.
“Okay, I will talk to one person that I think might be open to having this conversation behind closed doors and I will get back to you on that,” Tarango said.
“The answer is this guy has access to this list. Is he willing to play ball? That’s another conversation…I don’t know if he’s willing to play ball. But I’m willing to have that conversation with him. Yes,” Tarango said.
“And the reason that I know this is because last year in North Texas, in your neck of the woods, someone did that. Someone exported a list, an OFA list so they could then give it to a political campaign, a local political campaign, and … they caught him doing this immediately. So I don’t know what mechanism is in place for folks to find out that this list was exported or whatever. But there are those safeguards in place,” Tarango said.
Tarango made clear that “the person [he] is referring to” is “like me in a leadership position, and so he could export the list if he wanted to.”
“I know him well enough to feel like if we had a few beers that this would not be the craziest conversation that he’s ever heard. Is he my boy? The answer is no but I think we can speak the same language,” Tarango said.
“So in the meanwhile what I’ll do is have that conversation with this individual. I will think a little bit further about the idea that I had with the progressive Project and just, you know, ask some questions out there and I’ll also talk to some of my other friends within the political infrastructure here in Texas and ask them…And have a conversation with them about how we can get proven immediately, uh, proven, proven voter contact lists,” Tarango said.
In an earlier happy hour conversation also captured by Project Veritas, Tarango discussed his partisan political activity.
I’m doing Enroll America right now but I’m also, I shouldn’t be saying this, but I’m also helping out with [House District 50 race]. So that’s as partisan as it gets,” Tarango said, noting that “we’re all Obama people” in the nonprofit groups Enroll America, Battleground Texas, and Organizing for Action.
Enroll America did not immediately return a request for comment.
Sebelius’ relationship with Enroll America is the subject of a pending government ethics audit.
Sebelius admitted in testimony before a House ethics panel in June that she personally asked the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and H&R Block to contribute to Enroll America. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation owns more than $1 billion across 13 million shares of stock in Johnson & Johnson, which is regulated by HHS.
The HHS inspector general even subpoenaed Johnson and Johnson in August for information about its promotional efforts for a pain medication.
Sebelius also admitted that she called the health insurers Kaiser Permanente, Ascension Health, and Johnson and Johnson — all of which are regulated by HHS — to discuss Enroll America, but without soliciting donations in those calls. Sebelius bestowed a 2012 award on Kaiser Permanente Colorado, vowing that Kaiser “will be serving as a role model for the rest of the country.”
The Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) open audit of Sebelius’ communications on behalf of Enroll America is still pending, though a GAO spokesman declined to provide details to The Daily Caller about the status of the audit.