Dems Say CMS Chief Spent $6M On 'Personal Brand' Advisers

Law360 (September 10, 2020, 9:46 PM EDT) -- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma misused federal funds to rack up $6 million in expenses for consultants to craft her "personal brand" and work as a "shadow operation" to sidestep agency staff, according to a report by Congressional Democrats.

Verma and other senior CMS officials treated strategic communications consultants as if they were agency employees, provided them access to sensitive policy information and paid some of them double the salary of in-house communications staffers, House Democrats said in their report released Thursday.

Publicity consultants like Marcus Barlow and Pam Stevens were tasked with bolstering the national image...

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