ATR and CFA have sent the following letter to Jonathan Gruber, the MIT professer who has been under contract with the Department of Health and Human Services while touting the Democrats’ healthcare plans in the media without disclosing his relations with the administration:
Dear Mr. Gruber,
In light of the recent revelations that you have been under a $297,600 contract with the Department of Health and Human Services while publicly advocating for the Democrats’ healthcare proposals in recent months, we ask that you return the money you received under the contract.
Your public defense of various provisions of both the Senate and House healthcare proposals while under contract with the Administration represents a serious conflict of interest.
Your engagement with the government to publicly tout a massive spending program is akin to public lobbying campaigns for which consulting firms are being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars on behalf of their (private-sector) clients. The fact that in your case the client was the Administration paying you hundreds of thousands of dollars makes your actions highly unethical. Taxpayers clearly deserve better than having their tax dollars spent on political propaganda.
You may have disclosed your involvement with the administration to reporters “when asked.” However, such important information should not just be provided upon request, but should have been volunteered, and you should apologize to the journalists you left in the dark.
More than anything, though, you owe taxpayers, whose hard-earned tax dollars were used for dubious political propaganda an apology as well as an amount of $297,600 which you should swiftly return to them.