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White House Hit with FOIA Lawsuit Over Obamacare Waivers

11:30 AM, Mar 23, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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Crossroads GPS, the policy arm of Karl Rove's American Crossroads PAC, just dropped a lawsuit on the Obama administration:

Today, a law firm representing Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (GPS), a nonprofit conservative issue advocacy organization, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, over the department’s repeated failure to comply with the Freedom of Information Act by providing information about the department’s granting of waivers from the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Act, also known as Obamacare.

The lawsuit seeks judicial enforcement of a FOIA request for “any and all memoranda, guidance, directives, instructions and other documents … relating to the criteria to be applied by HHS in deciding whether to grant or deny applications for waiver of the annual limit requirements” ordered by the Obamacare law.

“The Obamacare waiver program has all the same flaws as the underlying law: unfettered government power, federal bureaucrats picking winners and losers, and the appearance, if not the reality, of favoritism to political cronies,” said Steven Law, president of Crossroads GPS. “Until President Obama is willing to grant the entire country a waiver from Obamacare, his Administration needs to come clean on how they decide who wins and losers in the waiver lottery.”

 Crossroads GPS submitted its FOIA request to HHS on January 7, 2011, and HHS acknowledged its receipt of the request on January 11, 2011. After repeated attempts by letter, phone, email and fax to generate action on the request, no action has been taken, despite the 20 day statutory limit on fulfilling FOIA requests.

So far the administration has issued over a thousand waivers, with no clear guidance as to who's elligible to duck the law. This lawsuit could result in a treasure trove of politically embarassing information.

UPDATE: You can read the lawsuit here. (PDF link)

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