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Gruber clams up: Won't say what he was paid for Obamacare consulting, won't hand over documents


Jonathan Gruber, who Democrats have said was the source of many ideas that went into Obamacare, on Tuesday refused to tell Congress how much he was paid by the federal government and by various states to offer advice on Obamacare or other state-run health care systems.

He also refused to agree to give Congress documents he produced for the administration while a consultant. In both cases, he said Congress should "take that up with my counsel."

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) started off the questioning at a House oversight hearing Tuesday by saying Gruber never told Congress he had been a paid consultant on Obamacare when he testified before Congress previously, and called that "deception at its highest form."

He then asked how much Gruber and any organizations related to Gruber was paid to consult by federal and state taxpayers. Jordan said those payments not only were for his advice on health care laws, but for groups he later worked at when he spoke about Obamacare later, including when he said Obamacare passed thanks to the "stupidity of the American voter."

But Gruber said Congress would have to ask his counsel for information about how much he was paid by taxpayers.

"The committee can take that up with my counsel," Gruber said.

"So you're not going to answer the question?" Jordan asked. "You're under oath. We asked you a simple question."

Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said that while Gruber offered disclosed some payments to the committee as part of his testimony, it only revealed about $100,000 in federal and state payments. Issa said earlier he believes Gruber may have received several millions of dollars, but said none of that was revealed in documents today.

"The gentleman's disclosure is not complete," Issa said. "So I would admonish Dr. Gruber, your choice really is, answer questions fully here and then supplement, or we will seek to bring you back with the full disclosure in order to get all the other numbers."

But Gruber stayed silent, and later gave a similar answer to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who asked Gruber to hand over any documents about Obamacare that he delivered to the Obama administration when he was a consultant.

"Once again, that's a request the committee can take up with my counsel," Gruber said.

Chaffetz pressed him repeatedly by saying his lawyers work for Gruber, and Gruber should decide if he wants to hand over his work product. But Gruber said a few times he's not an expert on what documents should be disclosed to Congress.

Gruber also said he hasn't concluded whether he will not hand them over, and when asked who owns those documents, Gruber admitted, "I'm not sure."

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