The Washington Times - June 5, 2013, 09:40AM

A Republican-led House panel has expanded its investigation into reports that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called members of the health care industry to suggest they donate money to a nonprofit group that is promoting President Obama’s health care law.

The Committee on Energy and Commerce sent letters to industry firms Ascension Health and Johnson & Johnson this week requesting information on whether Mrs. Sebelius or other HHS officials solicited contributions to the nonprofit group Enroll America to help in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. 

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“Committee leaders are especially concerned with agency officials soliciting companies and organizations regulated by the agency,” the committee said in a statement.

The committee sent letters last month to 15 top insurers and health care companies, including Aetna and BlueCross BlueShield. 

Both rounds of letters are seeking information on whether anyone tied to Enroll America or former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Nancy-Ann DeParle contacted them to contribute or assist in the implementation of  “Obamacare.”

Mrs. Sebelius defended her decision this week on Capitol Hill, saying that nothing in the law barred her from asking the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropic organization, and tax preparation firm H&R Block to donate to Enroll America. She said she never asked for money from entities that are regulated by the agency.