Jonathan Gruber

How Much Did Taxpayers Pay for Jonathan Gruber's Obamacare Consulting Work? To Find Out, Congress Will Have to Talk to His Lawyer

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In testimony before the House Oversight Committee today, MIT economist and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber was asked repeatedly to provide the details of his contracts with states and the federal government, which, when combined, are reportedly worth millions of dollars.

Gruber was supposed to provide much of this information before his appearance via a standard disclosure form, but Gruber apparently did not file the committee's standard form. When members of the Oversight Committee asked Gruber for information on the contracts and the work produced under them, however, Gruber repeatedly declined to immediately provide it, saying only that they could speak with his attorney.

You can watch one such exchange—not the first or only one—between Gruber and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), below.

Remember: This is work funded by taxpayers and ordered by and delivered to public officials in order to help them make significant policy decisions. And Gruber's under-oath response when asked to share this work with a congressional committee is just to repeat some version of, "Talk to my lawyer."

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  1. Gruber also repeatedly said that he was not an expert.

    So why was a non expert paid many millions of dollars for analysis?

    1. Same reason you hire any consultant: To tell you what you want to hear.

      1. “Bam!|12.9.14 @ 5:05PM|#

        Same reason you hire any consultant: To tell you your boss what you want them to hear without you being held accountable for it.”

        FTFY

        *disclosure: have done management consulting. Never worked in public policy, thank god

  2. Did Gruer not file tax returns for the last four years?

    1. He’s never criticized or run against Obama, so his tax returns are private.

  3. I don’t know. On the one hand public money oversight blah blah blah. But if I were subpoenaed to testify in front of Congress I would come armed with a hundred different ways to tell them to go fuck themselves.

    1. I can understand your dislike for congress in general, but I see this as a valid question requiring an answer.
      Answer or be held in contempt; that’s taxpayer money and I want to know this as much as I want to know how much of my money is being spent on some teacher who should be fired.

      1. It’s a totally valid question to the extent that one accepts Congress’ investigative authority and responsibility for the treasury, which Gruber presumably does.

        I don’t accept Congress’ authority over anything, so I would tell them to fuck off and probably moon them while they hauled me off to jail for contempt.

        1. I’m 100% behind this philosophy. Except Gruber just spent a couple of years working for them. Frankly, not sure why congress doesn’t already know this information. If I were a member of congress, I’d throw out a number implying it as fact, then let Gruber deny it.

        2. You say that, until they give you a booting.

    2. “if I were subpoenaed to testify in front of Congress I would come armed with a hundred different ways to tell them to go fuck themselves.”

      So would I.

      However, if I were getting paid what amounts to “millions per year” for work specifically related to a major piece of public-policy….?

      …Uh, i might find my ‘go fuck yourself’ position being received rather poorly

      1. In this particular instance, Gruber is saying ‘fuck you’ to me.

  4. Gruber was supposed to provide much of this information before his appearance via a standard disclosure form, but Gruber apparently did not file the committee’s standard form.

    And he was not held in contempt, why, exactly?

    1. Principals not principles.

  5. If anybody knows how stupid the people who voted for this are, it’s Gruber.

  6. Easy enough to resolve (if you have a spine):

    Give him a week to file the form, and subpoena him to come back to testify again about what’s on the form.

    If he refuses, jail him.

  7. It would be more interesting to ask him about how much healthcare providers paid him or how much they’ll make from Obamacare?

    Unless he’s just a Baptist.

  8. This doesn’t really fit in with his narrative of being sorry, imo. He knew in advance he’d be asked about it and the refusal to answer looks a lot more like obstruction than forgetfulness.

  9. Gruber is a distraction. If the government hired someone, shouldn’t the government know how much it paid him?

    They darn well know how much I got paid last year, and I was working for private businesses.

    1. “LarryA|12.9.14 @ 5:02PM|#

      Gruber is a distraction. If the government hired someone, shouldn’t the government know how much it paid him?”

      I raised this point below. Its not clear why they’d need Gruber to either disclose details of his contracts or submit copies of work-produced if they could otherwise access them from other government agencies without having to gin up a subpoena/compel other Govt agencies to disclose details.

      The fact that he won’t cooperate is something they seem to want to make hay out of. So hay-making they engage in. And they belabor it for the theatrical benefit.

      But again – that aside, i’d wonder why they don’t already have copies of work he’d conducted and have some ready-questions about the details of it. Lazy? What are congressional staffers for… aside from molesting/giving favors to children of donors?

  10. WHATS ALL THIS ABOUT GRUBER?? GRUBER WHO?? I CANT HEAR YOU OVER THE TORTURE TORTURE TORTURE TORTURE TORTURE BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH TORTURE TORTURE TORTURE NYA NYA NYA TORTURE TORTURE TORTURE

    Salon headlines on their front page =
    – An appalling torture report
    – “I don’t care what we did”: What Nicolle Wallace’s rant reveals about America’s torture problem
    – How “The Colbert Report” skewered America’s torture disgrace
    – Fox News’ sick reaction to torture report: It’s a distraction from Obamacare!

    I do really get a kick out of how Salon represents something of a window into the liberal Super-Ego/ID wrestling match

    I especially appreciate their application of the term “vile”. Its their favorite adjective.

    1. The more they go on about the torture report, the better. Some progressives are actually starting to reassess their faith in omnibenevolent government. With more atrocities, some of them may commit apostasy from progressivism.

      1. What will be amusing will be their reaction should someone demonstrate that some of the stuff Obama officially ordered an end to has been continuing with admin knowledge.

        It’s my hunch that enhanced interrogation still goes on, but outsourced.

        1. We all know the torture stopped around the time Barry closed Gitmo…oh, wait…

  11. “Remember: This is work funded by taxpayers and ordered by and delivered to public officials in order to help them make significant policy decisions.”

    in which case you’d suspect that the information/documents that Gruber provided to his ‘clients’ should be available from the relevant state/federal agencies sans subpoena?

  12. Hmm. Can I put that on my 1040? I’m sure that will go over well.

  13. This pisses me off so much. What makes me even angrier is that this whole thing was passed using deception and lies but yet no one cares. This bill has raised the cost of health care for people and no one cares. It’s down disheartening.

  14. I feel a “I had those documents but my hard drive crashed…” coming on.

  15. The United States Government can’t afford a copy of Quickbooks, due to the austerity budget.

    I blame BOOOOOOOSH

  16. Look, it’s all corrupt and infuriating. I get that. But… was the work product bought and paid for by the Executive branch? If so, congress indeed would not have access to it. They should be going after whomever contracted it and received it. That is a matter of public record. Let Obama claim executive privilege and see how far that gets him.

    For once, I’m with Hugh- I’d be saying the same thing, “You’re asking legal questions and there may be legal liability. Talk to my lawyer, bitch.”

    1. That may be the case for the work he did for the white house –

      but he apparently had multiple contracts with different agencies (state govs, hhs, etc); i’m still leery about why congress shouldn’t have access to at least things like the details of who hired him for what and how much he was paid… if not actual documentation of the work conducted

      1. Maybe they should, but that’s between them and the contracting agency.

        1. Old Man With Candy|12.9.14 @ 5:38PM|#
          “Maybe they should, but that’s between them and the contracting agency.”

          Nope. I’m a stockholder here; I pay those bills and want to know how much I’m paying.
          See above about teachers; I don’t care which branch of MY government contracted for it, I’m still the payer.

          1. Good luck with THAT project. We have to deal with what the law actually is, not what we’d like it to be.

            Generally, amount and recipients of contracts are publicly disclosed. The work product may or may not be- that’s why we have FOIA. Your beef (or, in this case, the congressman’s beef) is with the contracting agency. In this case, the contractor, who isn’t an attorney, is being questioned under oath by attorneys, and is, I think, correct in referring that sort of question to his attorney. If under those conditions I were being asked, “Aren’t we entitled to know these things?” I’d be responding, “Are you asking me for a legal opinion? Isn’t it illegal for me to render one?”

            Like I said, it’s horribly corrupt, it’s horribly frustrating, and the law is amazingly awful in uncountable ways, but I have to take Gruber’s side in this particular instance. Get the information from the lawyers (or the rare non-lawyers at these agencies) to whom the work product was given.

            1. Sorry, I may be naive in the matter, but when he swore to ‘tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’, that sort of seems to take precedent. Unless he cares to take the 5th.

              1. Nope, unless he has immunity, he could be in a world of hurt if he coughs up work product. It may be morally the right thing to do, but that’s irrelevant when lawyers are involved.

  17. Psst… Dr. Gruber… Try this…

    “Those documents are the work product of contracts made with HHS and various state executive authorities. They were not made for the United States Congress or the American people. They were made under contracts that stipulated that the results be privately delivered to the purchasers of the product. I do not know the limitations and provisos under that contract with respect to presenting any of the results or terms to Congress. Please discuss it with my attorney.”

    Alternatively…

    “Do you think I could have charged each state $400,000 if they knew they could get it from the Congressional record? Talk to my marketing representative.”

    1. “They were made under contracts that stipulated that the results be privately delivered to the purchasers of the product. ”

      So… me.

  18. For Vermont:

    Gruber and his assistants have submitted invoices for $200,000 and have been paid $160,000, Miller said. The remainder was retained until the conclusion of the job.

    Vermont will continue to pay for the work of Gruber’s research assistants, but will not pay any additional compensation to Gruber, the health care reform chief added.

    via Burlington Free Press

  19. Hey Gruber! How much you like big government now?

    1. Maybe we should tell him it’s for his own good? That it won’t cost much? That it’ll lower the cost of congressional investigations in the future?

  20. Ah Gruber Gruber Gruber Gruber Gruber Gruber Gruber MUSHROOM MUSHROOM!

    1. He’s a faaaaake, faaaaake, ooooh, he’s a faaaaaake.

  21. What’s astounding here is the level of arrogance demonstrated by Gruber and the administration which probably provided him the lines he would provide in response to these questions.

    This guy was paid millions to advise states and government agencies on this law, but really just claimed ignorance of it in a congressional hearing.

    The Democrats basically are so sure that the media won’t call them on any of this that THIS is the best line of bullshit they could deliver. And most Americans won’t ever see or hear it. It will never air on the network news programs. It will never see the light of day on CNN. It will be buried and half reported in the NYT, WashPo, and other major print outlets.

    There’s the real story here. It’s not that politicians and their lackies lie, but that the media is willing to serve as complicit stooges for one of the two major political parties.

  22. I don’t get the questions or the answers in that video exchange.

    Gruber was a government contractor. He submitted invoices to the government so he would be payed. (Probably through a third party, but that doesn’t matter, just an extra account step). Both Gruber and the USG have copies of the invoices. There was some written request for services, a definition of Gruber’s scope of work, and a purchase order number, that Gruber invoiced against.

    Neither party (and I mean ‘party’ in both ways) seems to have a clue. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) didn’t do his homework. Or maybe I am missing the subtleties of political theater.

    1. …”Or maybe I am missing the subtleties of political theater.”…

      I think is was strictly theater, and let’s face it, the entire thing is.
      They want the guy to admit on TV that he lied about the bill and the want him to state, on camera, that he was paid bocu bucks for doing so.

    2. Gruber might have made mistakes, not necessarily lied. Mistakes should be covered by Gruber’s Errors and Omissions insurance policy. It’s up to the owner, the USG, to quantify the level of coverage on this.

      He should have submitted his E&O policy authentication prior to any purchase order or contract from the USG. This is the way it works for all of the government consulting services I have been engaged with.

      Tony tells me we can’t nuclear power plants because no one will insure them.

    3. USG doesn’t have copies of the invoices from that several states that independently paid for the privilege of being told they are stupid.

      1. Lost invoices?

        The information age and we’re down to that.

        1. Yes, we’re in the information age with redundant virtual servers, Storage Area Networks and full, live, 100% real time disaster recovery with full transaction rollback and offsite mirroring.

          Lois Lerner’s desktop Quantum Fireball hard drive crashed and we lose thousands of valuable, relevant emails relating to the Peoples’ Business.

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