Seema Verma, administrator for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services hired about 40 former Trump White House and campaign employees for a $2.25 million annual contract to do work traditionally handled by CMS' own communications department.
Why it matters: "The arrangement allowed the Trump allies to cycle through the federal government's opaque contracting system, charging hefty fees with little public oversight or accountability," Politico reports.
Details: Multiple sources confirmed the authenticity of 200 pages of billing documents that Politico obtained from Health and Human Services in a congressional oversight request.
- At least eight former officials from the White House, presidential transition and campaign for President Trump were hired.
- CMS agreed to allow at least four consultants to bill up to $204,000 over the length of the contract, a much larger amount than senior career officials in the CMS communications department earned and a little more than HHS Secretary Alex Azar’s annual salary.
What they're saying: Politico reported that CMS insisted in a statement "that it followed standard government contracting procedures and that CMS routinely relies on thousands of contractors for 'critical day-to-day operations.'"