by Warner Todd Huston 18 Oct 2013
An unnamed Obama administration official claimed that the White House feared GOP subpoenas would slow their work on the Obamacare website, leading to keeping its design in-house with "trusted campaign tech experts" that seemed to have spectacularly failed at creating a successful commerce website.
In a Politico article lamenting the second week of failed performance of Healthcare.gov, the Obamacare insurance website, the unnamed official attempts to explain why the whole thing has been such a dismal failure: it's the Republican's fault.
"Facing such intense opposition from congressional Republicans," Politico wrote, "the administration was in a bunker mentality as it built the enrollment system, one former administration official said. Officials feared that if they called on outsiders to help with the technical details of how to run a commerce website, those companies could be subpoenaed by Hill Republicans, the former aide said. So the task fell to trusted campaign tech experts."
This is not a very satisfactory explanation, though. There are many questions regarding the Obamacare website that have yet to be answered.
Firstly, this quote tends to prove that the President wanted to make sure there was no transparency for his healthcare website; this from the President that promised the most open administration in history.
But it also raises another series of questions. Why, for instance, did the administration give this project to their buddies instead of opening it to competitive bidding? Isn't this the sort of thing Obama and his cohorts always accused George W. Bush and Dick Cheney of with Haliburton contracts?
Secondly, who are these "trusted campaign tech experts"? Is this official talking about Obama's campaign Internet team? And if so, are these individuals part of Organizing for Action (OFA), which is supposed to be legally separate from the White House?
So, is the White House still working hand-in-hand with OFA?
Finally, it is interesting to note that the Weekly Standard found that Healthcare.gov is violating copyrighted software licensing agreements.
"The latest indication of the haphazard way in which Healthcare.gov was developed is the uncredited use of a copyrighted web script for a data function used by the site, a violation of the licensing agreement for the software," wrote Jeryl Bier on October 17.
It appears that Democrat Max Baucus didn't know the half of it when he described Obamacare as a "trainwreck."