U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo) called on the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to investigate stimulus grantees' use of tax dollars to lobby state and local governments. 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.
Rep. Lummis provided the Inspector General with several examples of possible violations, such as grantees lobbying for tax hikes on tobacco and sugary beverages, restrictions on fast food restaurants and convenience stores, and menu-labeling legislation.
"Disease prevention and wellness policies might be worthwhile goals, but it is illegal to use federal dollars to lobby the government," Rep. 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. The Constitution gives specific powers to the federal government and reserves all other powers to the states and the people. Using federal tax dollars to lobby state and local governments upsets this balance."
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