Kathleen Sebelius sees 'dangerous' flow of anonymous campaign cash
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said she has seen dozens of political ads paid for by generic-sounding organizations with anonymous money.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has visited 26 states selling health-care reform legislation and says â€śthere is money flowing in unbelievable waysâ€ť around the country that the funding is â€śvery anonymous.â€ť
At a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters in Washington on Thursday, Secretary Sebelius, the former Democratic governor of Kansas, said, â€śthe untold story of 2010 is not the "tea party" or not the health-care bill, or a number of these issues. It is the amount of money that is flowing in districts around the country and particularly the amount of anonymous money.â€ť
A key reason for the increased amount of anonymous cash is the Supreme Courtâ€™s January 2010 ruling in "Citizenâ€™s United versus Federal Election Commission." The high court decision makes it possible for corporations and unions to donate anonymously to nonprofit civic leagues and trade associations who can then turn around and spend the funds on political advertisements.
â€śI havenâ€™t been any place where there arenâ€™t dozens of ads now being run and nobody knows who is behind them,â€ť Sebelius said. â€śI am used to a political system where people engage in battles and you know who brought them to the dance. And that becomes part of the discussion.â€ť
The Secretary argued that for voters to determine which campaign advertisers are on their side â€śis difficult if not impossible right now and I think that is pretty dangerous.â€ť
At the breakfast she was asked about a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll which asked respondents about potential outcomes of the 2010 elections. One potential outcome was â€śthe health-care reform plan that was passed earlier this year is repealed.â€ť That was viewed as an acceptable outcome by 51 percent of those surveyed and unacceptable by 39 percent.
Sebelius argued that as people understood the Affordable Care Act better, more citizens would support it. â€śIt is frustrating at times to talk to folks who still have no idea [and] repeating some of the myths of the past. I remind myself after 18 months of debate and a lot of misinformation and a couple of hundred million dollars worth of TV ads that drove that misinformation I shouldnâ€™t be surprised that people have some beliefs about what is or isnâ€™t.â€ť
Still the secretary admitted, â€śI get sort of frustrated at times that â€¦ I am debating in some ways mythology, but it is real as far as people are concerned, so that debate needs to continue.â€ť