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Darrell Issa accuses HHS of criminally obstructing investigation

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On Wednesday, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., accused the Department of Health and Human Services of criminally obstructing his investigation into the botched rollout of, The Hill reported.

Issa made the accusation after the department allegedly told one contractor not to comply with congressional requests for information. He also dismissed the argument that Creative Computing Solutions Inc. agreed not to share certain details with third parties.

"Obstructing a congressional investigation is a crime," he told HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a letter sent Wednesday. "I request that you direct all employees in your Department to cease obstructing the Committee's investigation of the implementation of the [Affordable Care Act]."

HHS reportedly told CCSI it would manage any requests for information.

But Issa called the agency's arguments a "threat of litigation to deter private companies from cooperating" with lawmakers' requests for information. He also said the contract precludes vendors from sharing information with other companies, not Congress.

“The Department’s attempt to threaten CCSI for the purpose of deterring the company from providing documents to Congress places the officials responsible for drafting and sending the letter on the wrong side of federal statutes that prohibit obstruction of a congressional investigation,” he wrote.

Issa issued a subpoena in October, demanding Sebelius turn over documents related to the website's troubled launch.

In response, the agency said it takes the matter "very seriously," noting that "the privacy and security of consumers' personal information" is a top priority.

"We have received the letter and will respond directly to the Chairman," the HHS statement added. "We are committed to working with the Committee to accommodate its interests in this issue and to respond to the Committee’s requests for documents."

Issa also reminded Sebelius that she remains under subpoena as well.



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