Monday, March 9, 2009
The Kansas City Star reports that some Kansas lawmakers are raising questions regarding whether a nonprofit that works with the developmentally disabled may have used its ties to Kansas Governor and HHS Secretary nominee Kathleen Sebelius to receive government funding outside of normal procedures. The article reports that Community Living Opportunities received over $700,000 in extra Medicaid funds without having to go through a regional gatekeeper, as is was apparently required for other providers of such services. CLO's board includes two individuals with strong ties to the Governor, Kansas Democratic Party Chairman Larry Gates and recent nominee to the state Supreme Court Dan Biles. Both the party Chairman and Governor Sebelius made public statements denying any influence peddling, and Governor Sebelius denies any role in the funding decision beyond receiving a briefing about it. One lawmaker, Rep. Peggy Mast (R-Emporia) is cited as calling for joint House-Senate hearings on the matter. The articles notes that CLO used the funds to reimburse staffers who work with the developmentally disabled.