The House Energy and Commerce staff did not respond to a request for information about how the recipients of the letter were selected.
The Washington Post story that first disclosed the fundraising effort cites anonymous sources saying that Sebelius made "multiple phone calls to health industry executives, community organizations and church groups and asked that they contribute whatever they can to nonprofit groups that are working to enroll uninsured Americans."
That contact would be a no-no because HHS makes decisions that directly affect health plans.
For her part, Secretary Sebelius acknowledges that she requested funds from H&R Block, the tax preparation company, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropic organization.
The House committee is particularly interested in Sebelius's efforts on behalf of Enroll America, a private nonprofit group with close ties to the Obama White House. It is dedicated to assisting the implementation of the healthcare reform law, especially in getting information about health insurance exchanges out to millions of uninsured. Enroll America was founded by Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, an early advocate of the PPACA.
In its letter to health plans and other organizations, the committee requested all internal documents related to contact by anyone at HHS or anyone acting on behalf of HHS "requesting contributions to assist in the establishment and implementation of PPACA." Health plans are expected to provide the names of personnel within their organizations who were contacted by HHS and to detail "any plans, commitments, or initiatives by your company to contribute to the implementation of PPACA."