Former Obama Health Care Official Now Planned Parenthood Lobbyist

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 27, 2011   |   10:36AM   |   Washington, DC

The relationship between pro-abortion President Barack Obama and the Planned Parenthood abortion business has always been cozy, but it got a little tighter with news that one of his former top health officials now lobbies for Planned Parenthood.

Liz Engel was a health care policy advisor for Democrats in the U.S. Senate before joining the Obama administration after the 2008 election to work with one-time HHS Secretary nominee Tom Daschle. Once Obama took over the White House, Obama named Engel his deputy assistant secretary for legislation at the Department of Health and Human Services — where she undoubtedly played a key role in shaping and helping to pass in Congress the Obamacare bill that pro-life organizations opposed because of loopholes allowing abortion funding and rationing concerns.

Now, according to a Washington Examiner report, Engel has taken a position as managing director for government affairs at the lobbying firm Glover Park Group, where she will lobby members of Congress on health care issues. The Planned Parenthood abortion business is one of her first two clients and the Examiner says her lobbying registration says she will represent it on “Matters relating to Health Reform.”

“Engel will join GPG’s Health + Wellness practice, which provides clients with integrated support, including government relations, public affairs, opinion research, marketing and advertising,” the firm announced in March after it hired Engel. “In her most recent role, Engel served as the liaison between HHS and Members of Congress regarding Medicare, Medicaid and other critical issues related to health reform. She worked closely with key White House officials and the leadership of other agencies to advance policy priorities.”

The Obama administration worked very closely with the Planned Parenthood abortion business during the crafting of the Obamacare health care legislation.

The Obama administration put together a White House health care summit in March 2009 which saw Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards invited to promote abortion while pro-life groups were left out.

Meanwhile, White House visitor logs also reveal Richards attended a private meeting with Obama administration staff on June 6 and July 7.

The June meeting saw 28 people gather at an event coordinated by Valerie Jarrett’s White House Office of Public Engagement. Kathleen Richardson, who headed the public-relations offensive designed to woo groups to support the health care bills, coordinated the meeting. The logs don’t reveal how long Richards stayed.

The July event had Richards in a one-hour private meeting with Tina Tchen, the executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, which pro-life advocates say is promoting abortion on a worldwide level. The meeting likely included discussion of plans for Tchen to appear at a Planned Parenthood event held just two weeks later.

The logs also show Richards met privately with Anita Dunn, the then-White House communications director, for almost an hour on October 28.

That’s the day House Democrats unveiled the House version of the pro-abortion health care bill prior to the Stupak amendment that banned abortion funding.

Wendy Wright, the president of Concerned Women for America, told the “visitor logs document the close relationship that the Obama administration has with the largest abortion provider in the country.”

“For a president who claimed he would fight against lobbyists’ influence, these records reveal a different story,” Wright said.

“Planned Parenthood’s many visits to the White House as the administration shaped its legislative priorities helps to show this abortion provider stands to gain multi-millions of dollars in government funding if Obama’s policies become law,” she added.

The White House visitor logs also appear to omit a special August meeting Richards attended on behalf of Planned Parenthood.

In a note she posted on Facebook, Richards revealed some of the details about the meeting and the Obama administration’s strategy for getting the pro-abortion bill approved.

“Yesterday I attended a special meeting at the White House to discuss women and health insurance reform,” Richards wrote at the time.

“The basic message was that we’ve got to remind folks why we became so dedicated to reforming the health care system — or more particularly, the health insurance system — in the first place,” she said at the time.

Richards says the Obama administration “appreciate[s] all the mighty Planned Parenthood supporters speaking up for reform in the states.”

The revolving door for Richards and Planned Parenthood goes the other way as well.

Tchen spoke to more than 400 pro-abortion activists at the 2009 Planned Parenthood Organizing and Policy Summit. During the mid-July event, Tchen told the Planned Parenthood activists that if they want abortion as a part of the health care restructuring plan Congress is considering, they need to “bring it” — and up their lobbying efforts.