A House of Representatives committee has launched an investigation into allegations that White House officials bought the support of drug companies in order to pass Obamacare.
The firestorm surrounds an email sent by former administration official and current Obama campaign manager Jim Messina to lobbyists representing pharmaceutical companies that says, “What the hell? This wasn’t part of our deal.”
Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are questioning whether the allusion to a “deal” may have violated federal law.
This investigation has confirmed the existence of a deal between the White House and PhRMA that explicitly bound both parties to certain commitments. As the email exchange at the top of this memorandum demonstrates, the deal was so clearly understood to be binding that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina made direct contact with PhRMA’s chief lobbyist for the negotiations regarding the deal to express his displeasure with an apparent violation of the agreement more than two months before the legislation was given final approval by Congress.
There has been wide speculation about the existence of a backroom deal between Obama and drug-makers, but the White House has denied direct involvement. Republicans say they now have the evidence. More disclosures are to come.
In the coming weeks the Committee intends to show what the White House agreed to do as part of its deal with the pharmaceutical industry and how the full details of this agreement were kept from both the public and the House of Representatives.