GOP seeking probe into HHS secretary's fundraising

Sen. Tom Coburn sounds off


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," June 3, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Meanwhile, to another controversy that is brewing, and this could, could, could make the IRS thing pale down the road by comparison, one involving the Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Just bringing you up to date, did she break the law by forcing donations out of private companies to help essentially promote the health care law?

Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn wants to know and he wants to look into this and calls for right now an inspector general to conduct an independent probe.

Senator, good to have you. Answers on any of the above?


I have no doubt in my mind they have broken U.S. code by augmenting their appropriations.

I have had several large insurance executives tell me that they were asked to contribute to this. So, we're just beginning on this. But if it's not illegal, it should be. And it for sure is unethical. And it is definitely a conflict of interests to extort money from the very people that you regulate.

CAVUTO: You know what I was wondering, too, Senator, what about the companies that chose not to?

COBURN: That's right.

CAVUTO: Are they sort of pigeonholed or are they sort of -- do they have a big scarlet letter on them? Hey, we asked you to contribute and you didn't.


COBURN: This is a large group of people, from pharmaceutical makers to insurance companies to actual chain pharmacies to packaging companies.

They have hit them all up. And 31 U.S. Code 1301-A says you can't do that. And so the, I guess, disconcerting thing, Neil, is here we are outside the law, or at least appearance of being outside the law, in another area in this administration where they just don't really care what the rule of law is, is we want to do this so we don't care what the law says, so we're going to do it.

We're going to get to the bottom of this.

CAVUTO: So, I guess what I'm -- where does this go, though, Senator?

In reality, though, the secretary has come out and said, well, thanks to Republicans blocking our funding and following up financing a lot of the progress of the health care law, I think the gist of her comments were, we kind of had to do this. You say what?

COBURN: Well, that's the art of rationalizing why I broke the law, why I ate my homework.

The fact is, the law is the law. And that just shows you the attitude of this administration. It doesn't matter what the law is. They're going to do what they want to do. And that is what is undermining confidence both in Congress and in Washington and with this administration.

You can't do that. And so it's kind of like your previous guest. What are the facts? Tell us the truth. Don't give us any B.S. and let's look at this. And from what it appears right now from the people I have heard from, you in fact were given a pretty hard shove to contribute to the rolling -- the private sector program to roll out ObamaCare.

And it certainly is unethical. And it definitely is a conflict of interests. And I'm not sure that it doesn't violate supplementing their own appropriations, which is against the law.

CAVUTO: So, bottom line, you have this crisis. You have the whole issue of the IRS and whether we should be having thousands of more agencies handling dozens of different financing needs in health care.

At the very least, Senator, it would appear like the rollout of this health care law has been slowed, stymied, stopped? What?

COBURN: Well, look, it's not whether it's slowed or stymied.

This plan isn't going to work. I believe their default position all along was that this isn't going to work and the default position is single-payer government-run health care. That's what they want.

CAVUTO: And that that was their goal?

COBURN: And they want to make that decision.

And so the point is, is we don't have any good market forces allocating scarce resources in health care and we're never going to control the costs until we do. And we can create great safety nets for those that need our help, but we ought to let market forces cut the costs of health care.

The problem with health care is it costs too much. It's not that we can't get good quality health care.

CAVUTO: Senator, thank you very much. Good seeing you again.

COBURN: You're welcome, Neil. Good to talk to you.

CAVUTO: Same here.

Content and Programming Copyright 2013 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2013 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.