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Ethics Panel Decides Senate’s A Small Business Under Obamacare, Gets Premium Subsidies

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Ethan Barton Managing Editor

Senators, their staff members and families did not violate Senate rules by purchasing health insurance as a small business under Obamacare, a congressional ethics committee has ruled.

The Senate Select Committee on Ethics was responding to a June 2015 complaint filed by a nine-organization coalition led by watchdog group Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), which announced the result Tuesday.

The complaint requested the committee investigate whether senators or their staff committed fraud by claiming status as a small business under Obamacare, which qualified them for taxpayer-funded premium subsidies.

“The committee carefully evaluated the allegations in the complaint and, based on all the information before it, the committee concluded that there has been no violation of Senate rules,” a Sept. 21, 2016 letter by Chief Counsel and Staff Director Deborah Sue Mayer said. “Accordingly, the committee intends to take no further action with respect to this matter.”

Besides its 100 senators — who are each paid $174,900 annually – -individual senators’ staff sizes and expenses vary, depending upon the size of their state and related factors. There are approximately 4,000 people working on individual senators’ staffs. The total “Contingent Expenses of the Senate” was nearly $400 million last year.

The CCAGW-led coalition also included FreedomWorks, Judicial Watch and other conservative non-profit activist groups. Judicial Watch also challenged Congress’ small-business status with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in July 2015. (RELATED: Judicial Watch Challenges Congress’ Claim To Be A Small Business)

“If anyone needs further proof of why Congress has an approval rating of 11 percent, this case is a prime example,” CCAGW spokesman Curtis Kalin told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The indifference shown by the Senate Ethics Committee in the face of a clear instance of fraud is shameful.”

Kalin added that “Congress’s need to shield itself from the harmful effects of the healthcare law they passed drove these actions. Taxpayers deserve to know who falsely submitted the forms and they expect to see the culprits face consequences.”

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