Dan Epstein in Philadelphia Inquirer: Is federal money being misused?

Read the full story here. Philly.com

“Dan Epstein writes about the Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant program that potentially issued federal grants that were used to lobby for higher taxes.

“Since March 2010, $230 million in federal grant money has been given to 30 states under the Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative. Nearly $400 million more has been dedicated to the initiative for fiscal 2012. The grants were designed to educate the public on the hazards of tobacco use and obesity.

Instead of using the grant money to teach and inform citizens about those risks, though, some state and local governments may have wrongly spent it on lobbying, using federal tax dollars to influence policymakers and promote legislation and new taxes, according to an investigation by Cause of Action.”


Human Events: Justice Department asked to investigate abuse of stimulus funds for lobbying

Read the full story here. HumanEvents.com

“Cause of Action, a non-profit government accountability watchdog group, wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder and asked him to investigate the Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant program in depth, because “it appears that many grantees used grant dollars to lobby state and local officials for the creation of new taxes and other legislation.”

Contrary to dismissive statements made by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, this is against the law. Sebelius asserted that it’s only illegal when federal grant money is used to lobby the federal government, but in fact, it is illegal for such funds “to be used directly or indirectly to pay for any personal service, advertisement, telegram, telephone, letter, printed or written matter, or other device, intended or designed to influence in any manner… [a] jurisdiction, or an official of any government, to favor, adopt, or oppose, by vote or otherwise, any legislation, law ratification, policy, or appropriation.”

Cause of Action gave the Attorney General a few examples of clear violations to get him started….”