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Top Medicaid official racked up $3.5 million in consulting charges — and billed it all to taxpayers

Top Medicaid official racked up $3.5 million in consulting charges — and billed it all to taxpayersThe person in charge of providing health care for low-income Americans spent several million dollars of taxpayer money on furthering her own career, a congressional investigation has found.Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and a member of the coronavirus task force, racked up $3.5 million in consulting charges, event costs, and other things that developed her connections within the Republican party, Politico reports via the investigation set to be published Thursday. That included nearly $3,000 on a "Girl's Night" party, about $1,000 to place an op-ed with Fox News, and dozens more line items before Verma was cut off last year.Politico first reported Verma's excessive spending in March 2019, and her contracts with the consulting firm Nahigian Strategies were soon cut off. But Politico also sparked a congressional probe into those contracts, and investigators sifted through thousands of pages of Verma's emails and billing records. They found that Verma spent more than $3 million over two years in the Trump administration on "handpicked communications consultants used to promote Administrator Verma's public profile and personal brand," congressional Democrats said in a Thursday statement.Among the charges, investigators found Verma spent $115,000 with one consultant who "tried to broker conversations between Verma and well-known Washington reporters," booked conservative media appearances, and even tried to connect her with then-White House communications director Bill Shine, Politico writes. Verma also diverted $13,856 to shoot an "eMedicare" video, including $450 for a makeup artist, and spent at least $3,400 in consulting charges to arrange an appearance on Politico's Women Rule podcast, among many other charges. Read more at Politico.More stories from theweek.com Trump knew it all along The true Election Day nightmare scenario The staggering consequences of Trump's coronavirus lies




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