By Michelle Malkin
Question: If Obamacare officials cannot prevent accused embezzlers from infiltrating their offices, how can they protect enrollees from grifters, con artists and thieves in the federal health insurance exchange system?
Here in my home state, a director of Connect for Health Colorado -- the state-sponsored Obamacare health insurance exchange -- was just put on administrative leave. No, Christa Ann McClure did not go on leave over the chronic problems plaguing the cursed Connect for Health website. She's on leave because she has been indicted for filching funds from her last employer in Montana.
No, the guardians of Obamacare didn't smoke her out on their
own. McClure 'fessed up only after the local Billings (Mont.) Gazette newspaper reported on the charges against her. She was indicted by a grand jury on Jan. 16. But her current state government employers did not find out until last week, when McClure finally informed them because the press had published the indictment.
The Keystone Kops of the Colorado health exchange tell us they
conducted "thorough" background checks of McClure. They say they "fully vetted" and investigated her references when they hired her last March for her six-figure job helming the state Obamacare office of "partner engagement." Colorado officials say she was "well-qualified" for the Obamacare job, which
involves being a "liaison" with other government agencies. But mum's the word on who recommended her, which references they talked to and who in Colorado Democratic circles might have known about her history in Montana.
The 12-page federal indictment is a blood-boiling document
outlining government waste, fraud and abuse in the federal affordable housing racket. The feds say McClure siphoned untold amounts of money from the nonprofit group Housing Montana, which received a half-million-dollar federal grant to build homes for poor people.
McClure allegedly was paying herself "significant sums" for bogus "consulting services" while also taking a full-time salary as executive director of the nonprofit. She is accused of raiding the organization's funds for family expenses, personal travel and a laptop and lying to the IRS to obtain false reimbursements. She further defrauded the government by inflating her unused sick and annual leave hours. The feds say she also bilked Montana homeowners who participated in the federal affordable housing program by charging them for a fake $750 warranty and a $1,000 fee for "leasing tools."
Here's another disturbing fact: In a classic dance of the lemons, McClure had bounced around successfully from government-funded job to job until now. The Montana state auditor's office disclosed last week that McClure had managed three grants worth more than $2 million to implement Obamacare in that state. McClure worked on the project for three years at an annual salary of $98,000. She was "responsible for managing a broad range of contracts and making sure they got delivered on time," according to The Billings Gazette.
To whom did she deliver them, you ask? State auditors will be trying to find out now. McClure faces trial in June and up to 20 years on each of the eight charges of fraud and embezzlement. I'd like to be able to tell you that she'll never work in another Obamacare job again. But take a look at California. Just a few weeks ago, Jillian Kay Melchior reported in National Review that "at least 43 convicted criminals are working as Obamacare navigators in California, including three individuals with records of significant financial crimes." The crimes include forgery, petty theft, shoplifting, welfare fraud, child abuse and evading an officer.
Only the best to handle your private medical data and sensitive financial information!
And take a look at Oregon's disastrous Obamacare exchange, Cover Oregon. While overseeing an over-budget and inoperable website subsidized to the tune of nearly $60 million in federal funds, project managers allegedly "initiated the design of dummy web pages to convince the federal government the project was further along than it actually was," according to KATU-TV in Portland. A former Republican state legislator who served on the information technology oversight committee reported the whistleblowing allegations to the FBI. There is still no estimated completion date for the dysfunctional project, and the woman in charge of implementing the system is now in California, refusing to answer questions about her role.
"We have to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it," Nancy Pelosi infamously brayed in 2010. Ever since, Obamacare has revealed its true and horrifying colors: It's not salvation. It's a criminal enterprise rooted in ideological fraud.
Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies" (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM
By Thomas Sowell
There may be something to the claim that all people want to
be free. But it is a demonstrable fact that freedom has been under attack, usually successfully, for thousands of years.
The Federal Communications Commission's recent plan to have a "study" of how editorial decisions are made in the media, placing FCC bureaucrats in editorial offices across the country, was one of the boldest assaults on freedom of the press. Fortunately, there was enough backlash to force the FCC to back off.
With all the sweeping powers available to government,
displeasing FCC bureaucrats in editorial offices could have brought on armies of "safety" inspectors from OSHA, audits from the Internal Revenue Service and many other harassments from many other government agencies.
Such tactics have become especially common in this administration, which has the morals of thugs and the agenda of totalitarians. They may not be consciously aiming at creating a totalitarian state, but shameless use of government power to crush those who get in their way can produce totalitarian end results.
The prosecution of Dinesh D'Souza for contributing $20,000
to a political candidate, supposedly in violation of the many campaign finance laws, is a classic case of selective prosecution. Thugs who stationed themselves outside a polling place in Philadelphia to intimidate white voters were given a pass, and others accused of campaign finance violations were charged with misdemeanors, but Dinesh D'Souza has been charged with felonies that carry penalties of years in federal prison.
All of this is over a campaign contribution that is chicken feed, compared to what can be raised inside of an hour at a political fundraising breakfast or lunch.
Could this singling out of D'Souza for prosecution have
something to do with the fact that he made a documentary movie with devastating exposures of Barack Obama's ideologies and policies? That movie, incidentally, is titled "2016: Obama's America," and every American should get a copy of it on a DVD. It will be the best $10 investment you are ever likely to make.
It doesn't matter what rights you have under the Constitution of the United States, if the government can punish you for exercising those rights. And it doesn't matter what limits the Constitution puts on government officials' power, if they can exceed those limits without any adverse consequences.
In other words, the Constitution cannot protect you, if you
don't protect the Constitution with your votes against anyone who violates it. Those government officials who want more power are not going to stop unless they get stopped.
As long as millions of Americans vote on the basis of who
gives them free stuff, look for their freedom -- and all our freedom -- to be eroded away, bit by bit. Our children and grandchildren may yet come to see the Constitution as just some quaint words from the past that people once took seriously.
The arrogance of arbitrary power is not confined to the federal government. An egregious case in Massachusetts involves a teenage girl from Connecticut named Justina Pelletier, who was being treated for a rare disease by doctors at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.
When her parents brought this 15-year-old girl to an
emergency room in Boston, the doctors there decided that her problem was not medical but psychological. When the parents objected, and sought to take her back to the doctors who had been treating her at Tufts University, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families charged the parents with "medical child abuse," and were granted legal custody of the teenager.
Once given arbitrary power over Justina, the DCF bureaucrats
kept her all but isolated from her parents for more than a year. To add insult to injury, a judge issued a gag order, forbidding the parents from discussing the case publicly.
Only after Megyn Kelly on the Fox News Channel brought this case to national attention did the Massachusetts bureaucrats back off and turn the teenager's medical care back to the doctors at Tufts University. Whether her parents will get to see their daughter freely again is still up in the air.
Arbitrary power is ugly and vicious, regardless of what
pious rhetoric goes with it. Freedom is not free. You have to fight for it or lose it. But is our generation up to fighting for it?
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is www.tsowell.com. To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM
Letters to the editor and guest columns are published at the sole discretion of Levy Publishing, LLC.
Letters and columns should be submitted with a current daytime telephone number.
Upon request, names of those submitting will be withheld if the Editor can verify the identity of the writer by phone or acquaintance. Letters should be less than 500 words.
Letter to the Editor
By Levy County Superintendent of Schools Robert Hastings
Public education and the employees of our educational system have the greatest impact on the past and future of the State of Florida. However, I am profoundly concerned with the extent and swiftness of changes that are being forced on ..... more
Letter from the Editor
VAM Testing, Common Core and Unions the Business of Education
By Kathy Hilliard, Editor
In trying to investigate the available information on all the curriculum and educational changes out there it is obvious that the field is vast with fancy spin, full of the art of compromise for funding, and lean on information for the plight of teachers who inherently have a passion for teaching but not for the .....more