Fundraising from HHS secretary draws scrutiny

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A fundraising push by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is drawing criticism from a key Senate Republican who questions whether Sebelius has a conflict of interest.

Department spokesman Jason Young confirms that Sebelius in recent weeks has asked various patient groups, churches and health care providers to support nonprofit groups like Enroll America that are leading the effort to implement President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

The fundraising pitches were first reported by the Washington Post. Young says Sebelius made no fundraising request of drug companies, insurers or other entities regulated by her department.

But Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah says that soliciting money from health care executives is absurd. He says he will seek more information to determine whether such solicitations are allowed.

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