Grassley Thinks Health Agency Gave Hedge Funds ‘Special Treatment’

Dec 13 2011 | 10:35am ET

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, suspects Medicare and Medicaid gave special treatment to information requests from hedge funds. 

In a letter sent Monday to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Grassley suggested the special treatment also extended to political intelligence brokers who “seek to profit from government information,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

Grassley posed a series of questions to the agency, wanting to know its policy for interactions with non-government employees and how it safeguards information raised during meetings.

The Senator noted that an agency whistleblower had alleged that “high level CMS employees attended lengthy information gathering briefings at the request of hedge funds and political intelligence brokers with no discernible benefit to CMS or the federal government.”

“By arranging for its employees to spend a significant amount of time meeting with these groups, CMS’ actions also rob the American taxpayer of these employees’ full value,” wrote Grassley, citing a Project on Government Oversight report that “more than a dozen senior staff were required to participate in a meeting with a Wall Street firm when their time could have been better spent on official duties.”

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