WASTING NO TIME
Donald Berwick — the Obama Administration’s recess-appointed head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) — and his staff aren’t wasting a lot of time getting settled into their offices. Already, Berwick, according to career employees at CMS, has begun looking at what resources are at his disposal to launch a wide-scale media and public relations offensive in support of Obamacare and his views on government-funded health care. CMS is the agency charged with administering Medicare and working with state governments to administer Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The agency also has a role in setting and overseeing quality standards in nursing homes.
Berwick is also said to have asked his senior staff to look for ways to utilize some of the foundations and entities he has had relationships with while working at Harvard and his own think tank, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), and those organizations read like a who’s who from the George Soros Dustbin of Leftist Agitators.
Tops of among them is the Open Society Institute (OSI), itself a Soros-funded organization, which, through several different channels, has funneled money to Berwick’s IHI think tank at Harvard. Scholars at IHI were involved, for example in the Soros-funded “Project on Death in America,” which seeded hundreds of thousands of dollars across the country for studies into end of life issues. The OSI has also funneled similar amounts to organizations involved in drug-policy circles.
Through OSI’s contacts, Berwick staff is discussing ways to use leftist propagandist and Corporation for Public Broadcasting gadfly Bill Moyers (the man who famously spent his days as a President Lyndon Johnson aide trashing the reputation of Martin Luther King to the media) to highlight the efforts of the Obama Administration’s health care “reform” plan. They are also seeking ways to utilize relationships with charitable organizations that have had ties with Soros’s operation, including the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which has made the issue of “working families” a point of its research. There is also the Nathan Cummings Foundation, a leftist foundation with a definite pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel tilt, which spends millions in the “social justice” arena.
“Open Society was the hub that allowed Donald [Berwick] to meet up with foundations and individuals that helped him raise millions for Institute for Healthcare,” says a foundation board member with ties to OSI. “You didn’t start something at Harvard and not reach out to Soros, and Donald certainly worked that network hard, in part because he’s one of them.”
Just as important to Berwick’s team as bringing the old group back together again, is the getting a renewal and increase in the CMS budget on the five-year $300 million fund that has been paying four giant public relations firms, Ketchum, Ogilvy, Porter Novelli, and Weber Shandwick, for image and “outreach” efforts for the agency.
According to CMS sources, Berwick’s team has been talking to those four agencies, as well as one other global communications firm with strong ties to the Obama Administration — believed to be the Brunswick Group — about PR projects they could undertake under new contracts put in place after the 2011 expiration of the current multi-hundred million budget. “We’re going to need strong PR as more and more of the health care reform plan comes on line and citizens have more questions about the role CMS may play in their lives,” says a CMS career staffer. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re looking at PR budgets upwards of $500 million, if not more.”
DEMOCRAT SEX OFFENDER
Most people haven’t heard of Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire sex-offender, with close ties to former President Bill Clinton, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, and members of the Obama Administration. But after July 21, folks may be hearing more from him. That’s when his year-long probation — after he pleaded guilty to state charges arising from sexually charged massages and sex in exchange for money with under-age females — comes to an end.
Back in 2007 and 2008 when the Epstein-sex-abuse scandal broke, Democrats who at one time couldn’t move fast enough to get close to him, were running scared. Clinton, who famously traveled with Epstein to Africa, and Epstein friend, Obama economic adviser and former Harvard president Lawrence Summers, who sought tens of millions from Epstein for the university, would not comment on the relationship. Bill Richardson and then-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer returned political donations.
But Epstein, who, according to Palm Beach, Fla., newspaper reports, has settled more than two-dozen lawsuits and claims against him by underage females, and who will remain a registered sex offender for the rest of his life, is said to have been able to hold on to billions of his vast fortune, and continues to maintain homes in Palm Beach, Manhattan, New Mexico and an island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. And that has Democrat party fundraisers willing to overlook his criminal and sordid past if he’s game to start underwriting efforts for the Democrat party agenda.
“We are a forgiving people,” says one Democrat National Committee fundraiser. “Look, Eliot Spitzer is going to have his own national TV show on CNN — why can’t someone like Epstein be allowed to support political and philanthropic endeavors he cares about?”
To that end, according to Democrat insiders, former close associates to Epstein, like Clinton and Richardson, who is leaving office after the 2010 election cycle, have been approached by party officials about how to best engage Epstein’s largesse without directly tying him to the Democrat party. It is not known whether Clinton or Richardson has been in contact with Epstein in the past two years.
“There are any number of ways for us to do that,” says the DNC fundraiser. “If there is a foundation, he can give the money through the foundation to entities like The Tides, which will use his money confidentially to fund our causes. He can give dollars to groups like the Center for American Progress, where his name won’t be made public. He’s paid his debt to society, and we can’t afford to have him stuck on the sidelines.”