I use the question mark because, at this point, after stomping on freedom of speech in the IRS scandal and the utter cynicism behind the Benghazi cover-up, I’m not so sure I’d really be shocked by plain-old cronyism. In fact, a little workaday graft might be refreshing.
Time to call the SEC?
Wall Street investors hungry for advance information on upcoming federal health-care decisions repeatedly held private discussions with Obama administration officials, including a top White House adviser helping to implement the Affordable Care Act.
The private conversations show that the increasingly urgent race to acquire“political intelligence” goes beyond the communications with congressional staffers that have become the focus of heightened scrutiny in recent weeks.
White House records show that Elizabeth Fowler, then a top health-policy adviser to President Obama, met with executives from half a dozen investment firms in 2011 and 2012. Among them was Kris Jenner, a stock picker with T. Rowe Price Investment Services who managed its $6 billion Health Sciences Fund.
Separately, an officialin the agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid spoke in December with managers of hedge funds, pension plans and mutual funds in a conference call. The official, Andrew Shin, was pressed during the 50-minute call for information about upcoming Medicare decisions but declined to discuss matters still under agency review, according to people familiar with the call.
That call and the White House meetings Fowler attended were arranged by political-intelligence firms, an expanding class of consultants in Washington that specialize in providing government information to Wall Street.
But they deny anything hinky or downright corrupt went on. So there. That’s settled. And, besides, they don’t remember.
But didn’t Obama say something about “punishing our enemies and rewarding our friends?”
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)