The consultants, many with
The contractors were “handpicked” by Verma's aides, the report said, creating “a shadow operation" that sidelined the communications staff of the federal
The consultants' work often had nothing to do with running Medicare, Medicaid and other massive health programs that the agency operates, said the 56-page report, which was backed by over 1,700 pages of documents. Verma has run the agency since 2017.
“Congress did not intend for Administrator Verma or other senior CMS officials to use taxpayer dollars to stockpile CMS with handpicked consultants or promote Administrator Verma’s public profile and personal brand,” the report said.
“Given the reckless disregard she has shown for the public’s trust, Administrator Verma should reimburse the taxpayers for these inappropriate expenditures,” it said.
“This is just another reckless, politically timed, drive-by hit job on a reform-driven
The report released Thursday was prepared by the Democratic staffs of two
Thursday's report said that besides burnishing Verma's image, the consultants took the lead fashioning agency communications strategies and had access to sensitive internal information that could affect financial markets.
Consultants arranged for private meetings between Verma and hosts of conservative
One memo suggested seeking to land Verma on
Another document indicated contractors billed at least
There was also an entry for nearly
Page wasn't aware that Verma's agency was billed for the event, and personally paid more than
The report said Verma brought consultants with her on official travel, even when government aides were there, driving up taxpayers's costs. In one instance, Verma took a three-day trip to
Verma worked on health issues under Vice President