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APRIL 16, 2013                                                                                       

Cause of Action Report Finds Millions in Federal Tax Dollars Used for Lobbying

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work Program Became a Front for Cronyism, Propaganda, Lobbying, and Big Government


WASHINGTON – Cause of Action (CoA), a government accountability organization, today released “CPPW: Putting Politics to Work”, an investigative report exposing the endemic lack of oversight and accountability within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which led to the misuse of millions of taxpayer dollars by eight recipients of grants from the Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) program. Appropriated with $373 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the CPPW program was intended for job creation and public education on tobacco use and obesity prevention. $94.4 million of the CPPW funds were allocated to grantees included in this report.

CoA’s nineteen-month long investigation revealed that CPPW money supported lobbyists and public relations companies who used taxpayer dollars to push laws and agendas that would lead to tax increases on tobacco and sugar sweetened products—violating federal law as well as HHS and Office of Management and Budget guidelines.

Cause of Action’s Executive Director Dan Epstein explained the consequences of these findings:

Cause of Action has uncovered that the Department of Health and Human Services, the largest grant-issuing agency in the federal government, by failing to conduct effective oversight of the CPPW program, allowed taxpayer dollars to be misused, in some cases violating federal statute. With a program whose funding is expected to grow into the billions, how much more lobbying will the taxpayers be on the hook for before Kathleen Sebelius decides that it’s time to be accountable?”

Upon learning that the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) had issued a report in June 2012 on the alleged misconduct of CPPW grantees in Florence County, South Carolina, CoA expanded its own investigation. CoA is the first organization to report findings of federal money being dedicated for lobbying in these seven other communities:

  • Pima County, AZ
  • Mobile County, AL
  • Jefferson County, AL
  • Miami-Dade County, FL
  • DeKalb County, GA
  • Los Angeles County, CA
  • Santa Clara County, CA 

$2 billion in annual funding is currently scheduled for disbursement under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s Community Transformation Grants program to fight obesity use at the local, state, and federal level.

Click here to read a copy of the full report.