CBO hires Obamacare advocate to provide ‘objective’ health care budget numbers

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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The Daily Caller has learned the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has hired Melinda Beeuwkes Buntin, an Obama administration official who has been key in implementing parts of Obamacare thus far and a large donor to Democrats and liberal groups, to work in its Health and Human Resources (HHR) Office. As CBO’s deputy assistant director of HHR, Buntin is expected to assist with the Office’s prime directive, providing “objective, nonpartisan, and timely analyses to aid in economic and budgetary decisions on the wide array of programs covered by the federal budget.”

It may be difficult for Buntin to provide such “objective” and “nonpartisan” statistics to members of Congress, though, given her partisan support of Obamacare and Democratic candidates. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, she donated $2,300 to President Obama in 2008, $4,000 to John Kerry’s White House bid in 2004, $9,500 to Democratic Party group DNC Services Group since 2004 and $3,300 to pro-abortion group EMILY’s list since 2004. Buntin was also a major donor to Georgetown University professor and Democrat Judy Feder’s 2006 and 2008 House race challenges of Virginia Republican Rep. Frank Wolfe. Buntin gave Feder $7,050 between 2006 and 2008.

Buntin also donated $500 to South Carolina’s 2004 Democratic Senate candidate Inez Tenenbaum, who lost that election to Republican Jim DeMint.

Buntin, currently an Obama administration Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) official, has helped with the implementation of Obamacare’s information technology and record-keeping procedures, too. As the Director of the Office of Economic Analysis and Modeling underneath the National Coordinator for Health IT, Buntin has provided the administration with statistics and economic analyses to help it achieve its goal of collecting EHRs, or “Electronic Health Records” of Americans. Buntin’s work with HHS included using “economic analysis and models to describe and understand the factors driving” the “adoption, meaningful use, and interoperability of EHRs,” and an “information exchange.”

(AP: Health care law waivers stir suspicion of favors)

Not only has Buntin helped implement Obamacare, she advocated on behalf of it before Obama was even elected president. On Oct. 29, 2008, Buntin, described as an “Obama spokeswoman,” delivered a speech to health industry insiders so they could “learn more about the Obama/Biden health care plan.”

On top of that, Buntin’s parents, Nancy Beeuwkes and Reiner Beeuwkes III of Concord, Mass., were on the Boston Globe’s recent list of the Bay State’s biggest Democratic donors in recent years. The May 18 Globe piece shows Nancy has given $310,400 and that Reiner has given $279,500 to Democrats since 2007.

Somehow, though, Buntin has to put all her advocacy, large donations to left-wing groups and Democratic candidates and Obama agenda-supporting aside in her new role at CBO. It remains unclear if she’ll be able to do so.

According to the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the CBO is supposed to hire candidates for analyst positions based on their expertise and experience. “The Director shall appoint and fix the compensation of such personnel as may be necessary to carry out the duties and functions of the Office,” the law states. “All personnel of the Office shall be appointed without regard to political affiliation and solely on the basis of their fitness to perform their duties. The Director may prescribe the duties and responsibilities of the personnel of the Office, and delegate to them authority to perform any of the duties, powers, and functions imposed on the Office or on the Director. For purposes of pay (other than pay of the Director and Deputy Director) and employment benefits, rights, and privileges, all personnel of the Office shall be treated as if they were employees of the House of Representatives.”

Both Buntin and the CBO refused TheDC’s requests for comment.