Newly published emails show how health officials stonewalled a request by FoxNews.com for information about Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' under-the-radar fundraising for a pro-ObamaCare group.
The emails were published Monday by The Washington Examiner, and show how officials were sent into a frenzy by the initial inquiry.
FoxNews.com first reached out to the pro-ObamaCare group, Enroll America, last May to inquire about claims that Sebelius was making calls to nonprofits to raise money for its Affordable Care Act awareness campaigns. FoxNews.com was told "there was no truth" to the tip.
But the emails show officials acknowledging, privately, that it was accurate.
"He asked me point blank if this was true," wrote then-Enroll aide Cate Bonacini, according to emails obtained by the Examiner.
Within four minutes, Enroll consultant and Democratic operative Michael Czin wrote back: "Did you say that off the record?"
In an email several minutes later, Czin, a former Obama campaign staffer who later in May became a Democratic National Committee spokesman, acknowledged the veracity of the tip.
"Sebelius is helping with some fundraising," he wrote.
Bonacini, in her first email, told FoxNews.com that "somebody would get back," though "to the best of my awareness, there was no truth" to the tip.
A flurry of emails with the subject line "Urgent: Press inquiry from Fox News" followed minutes later among Czin, Enroll America President Anne Filipic, Bonacini and other Enroll staffers and senior HHS aides, according to the Examiner.
Officials with Enroll America and HHS did not clarify Sebelius' role to FoxNews.com at the time. But two days after the inquiry, at about 4:15 p.m. on a Friday, The Washington Post broke the story that Sebelius had in fact made "multiple phone calls" to "health industry executives, community organizations and church groups" asking them to fund nonprofit efforts to "increase awareness" of ObamaCare.
An HHS spokeswoman, after the Post story was published, told FoxNews.com she had dropped the ball on the request.
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