The Obama administration has a schizophrenic attitude toward requiring people to go through criminal-background checks. Last week, Senator John Cornyn (R., Texas) grilled Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services secretary, about why the 45,000 “navigators” who assist people in signing up for Obamacare aren’t required to undergo a criminal-background check, even though they handle sensitive personal information.
“So a convicted felon could be a navigator and could acquire sensitive personal information from an individual unbeknownst to them?” Cornyn asked her. “That is possible,” said Sebelius, noting that states could always impose their own requirements — as some have done.
The risk that unscrupulous or untrustworthy people could hold federally funded jobs or own guns certainly concerns the Obama administration in other contexts. The Office of Personnel Management conducts more than 2 million background checks a year for federal jobs. The FBI conducted just shy of 20 million background checks on gun owners in 2012.
In 2009, Robert Groves, President Obama’s handpicked director of the U.S. Census Bureau, announced that every one of the 1.2 million to 1.4 million people he would hire for the next year’s national head count would be investigated and fingerprinted — and felons wouldn’t be hired. “The goal is to ensure the public is protected,” the bureau announced at the time.
So given all of the background checks at the federal level, why not include the Obamacare navigators?
Michael Astrue, who served as commissioner of Social Security until earlier this year, and Scott Gottlieb, physician and resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, warned in the Wall Street Journal in September about the security risks presented by the navigators:
The Obama administration created unnecessary opportunities for fraud with the White House’s pork-minded insistence on funding favored community groups to employ “navigators” to solicit applicants and help them input their personal information, such as income and Social Security numbers. The navigators were hastily hired and trained (they are still being hired) and were not given extensive background checks. The personal data for millions of people will be entrusted to these navigators — and to a computerized system that has been rushed into operation.
Astrue and Gottlieb cautioned against the possibility of identity theft. That is not idle speculation. Remember ACORN, the fraud-laced “community organizing” group that once boasted Barack Obama had served as its lawyer and as one of its key trainers? ACORN finally went bankrupt in 2010 after dozens of its employees were convicted of voter-registration fraud and others showed up in undercover tapes offering advice on how to set up brothels and evade paying taxes. Investor’s Business Daily has reported that United Labor Unions Local 100, a New Orleans group run by ACORN founder Wade Rathke, announced on its Facebook page that it’s going “to do mass enrollment and help navigate people into the marketplaces In Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas under the Affordable Care Act!”