Obama IT chief really, really doesn’t want to testify about Obamacare
Todd Park is the administration’s Chief Technology Officer. Before taking the job in 2012, he was head of technology at the Department of Health and Human Services, where his biggest project was the development of the Obamacare website healthcare.gov. Now, as he oversees the administration’s tech efforts, his biggest project is still healthcare.gov.
That is why Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wants Park to testify at a hearing Wednesday on the Obamacare rollout. But Park doesn’t want to talk, as Issa is finding out.
The chairman’s first request to Park was on Oct. 21. The White House took more than a week to respond to Issa’s inquiry, finally telling him Park was too busy. Then Issa asked Park to come to this Wednesday’s hearing. The White House again said Park was too busy. Other administration officials agreed to testify, but not Park.
So on Friday afternoon, Issa sent another letter to Park, this one attached to a subpoena. Noting that Park has found time to, among other activities, speak to the New York Times, Issa wrote, “You are the only invited witness who remains unwilling to appear voluntarily … I am left with no choice but to compel your appearance.”
That will presumably motivate Park to testify. But not without more protests. Because over the weekend, some of Park’s associates started a new website, Lettoddwork.org, in an apparent effort to build public support for Park’s silence. “On the evening of November 8th,” the website says, “Todd Park was subpoenaed by Congressman Darrell Issa to testify in front of Congress about whether or not Healthcare.gov was prepared on launch day. Now, instead of continuing to fix Healthcare.gov (a mess he did not make), Mr. Park has to spend his hours preparing for his testimony.”
“No matter what side of the aisle you sit on,” the site concludes, “Todd is one of the good guys. Let him do his job.”
The site is the work of three men who have in the past worked for either the Obama presidential campaigns or the administration: Clay Johnson, Adam Becker, Michael Aleo. A tweet by one of them hints at another motive besides simply giving Park the maximum time to work on Obamacare. “Don’t let the good guy be the fall guy,” Aleo tweeted on Sunday. As chief technology officer presiding over a tech catastrophe, Park might be one obvious fall guy.
But so far, one notable thing about the health care disaster is that no heads have rolled. So far. Lettoddwork.org appears to be an effort to make sure Todd Park’s is not the first.