Stimulus Funds May be Violating Law Against Lobbying with Tax Dollars

Wyoming's representative in the House called on the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services to probe the use of stimulus dollars for lobbying.

Grant reports submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show grantees using federal tax dollars to influence laws, regulations and policies at the federal, state and local level -- which would violate federal law against using tax dollars for lobbying.

The examples gathered by Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) for Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson include lobbying to enact smoke-free laws and additional taxes on tobacco products, promoting comprehensive clean-air laws, and lobbying for food-police laws.

“Disease prevention and wellness policies might be worthwhile goals, but it is illegal to use federal dollars to lobby the government,” Lummis said. “The federal government should not spend tax dollars to lobby itself, nor should it use tax dollars to influence state and local government officials."

Seven Republican colleagues on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education signed on to today's letter.

"The Constitution gives specific powers to the federal government and reserves all other powers to the states and the people," Lummis said. "Using federal tax dollars to lobby state and local governments upsets this balance.”