Apparently frustrated by relentless demands for a mountain of documents related to its business of harvesting aborted fetuses, a spokesman for StemExpress referred to the House Select Investigative Panel Friday as a “rogue” body and said the firm is having trouble keeping up.
Republicans on the panel determined StemExpress may have violated federal law by profiting from the sale of aborted fetus parts, but the firm so far hasn’t fully complied with a subpoena for financial and communications documents that would further the investigation. After reiterating the demand for the documents this week in a firmly worded letter, the panel subpoenaed the firm’s accountant and bank Thursday for the documents.
“This rogue panel is difficult to keep up with,” StemExpress spokesman Chaz Smith told The Daily Caller News Foundation Friday, when asked whether the firm would respond to the latest round of subpoenas.
StemExpress turned over thousands of pages of documents to the committee in response to the initial subpoena, but the Republican Rep. who chairs the panel, Marsha Blackburn, says those documents do not fulfill the demands of the subpoena and are not sufficient for the investigation.
“We have learned that not only is this investigation warranted, but further examination of accounting records is needed to get the complete facts about what was actually going on,” Blackburn said in the letter, threatening to use “all means necessary” to force StemExpress to turn over the rest of the documents.
StemExpress maintains it is working to cooperate with the panel, but has cited overly broad and changing document requests as reasons for not yet producing all the documents. The letter, for example, laid out twelve new requests that have to be sorted through, according to StemExpress, and the panel subpoenaed its bank and accountant the very next day — leaving no time to properly comply.
“If that sounds confusing, it’s because it is,” Smith told TheDCNF.
The moves by the panel this week certainly signal a change in tactics and increased level of aggression in its pursuit of the documents, although only after months of back and forth over the disputed documents. Blackburn acknowledged there are new requests for documents in the letter, but issued the concurrent subpoenas anyway, apparently unwilling to wait for StemExpress to comply before seeking the documents elsewhere.
“We will continue to use all means necessary to get the facts and compel StemExpress to fully comply with previously subpoenaed information,” panel spokesman Mike Reynard Told TheDCNF Friday. “Obstruction will not be tolerated.”
Citing decisive and wide-ranging constitutional authority, the panel is demanding Dyer turn over all accounting records related to the cost and pricing of fetal tissue and any and all documents reflecting StemExpress costs and expenses, including compensation. Dyer is also to turn over every StemExpress bank statement since 2011, as well as every balance sheet, income statement, filed tax return, trial balance report and billing invoice.
The panel is trying to get a comprehensive look at StemExpress’s accounting practices and documents, as well as detailed information on how the price of fetal tissue is determined. The House tasked the panel with investigating the fetal tissue industry after a series of videos released last year exposed Planned Parenthood’s dealings in fetal parts with buyers such as StemExpress. The for-profit company grew explosively after Dyer founded it in 2010 with just $10,000, going from a tiny startup to a booming company with scores of abortion clinics to work with and $4.5 million of revenue in 2014.
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