Stunning admission from federal health agency after initial denial

How to escape taxation on millions of dollars by entering “public service” regulating the very people who made you rich.  That’s the lesson of Andrew Slavitt, deputy administrator for the vast and expensive Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  The Daily Caller has the exclusive story.  

When Andy Slavitt reported for work as deputy administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last June 10, he pocketed at least $4.8 million in tax-free income from major health-care companies.

That’s according to financial disclosure forms obtained by The Daily Caller, now published for the first time.

On June 27, he sold additional stock he personally held, raising his total windfall from the health industry to $7.2 million.

All that money was tax-free because of “two certificates of divestiture issued to Andrew and Lana Slavitt – both dated July 9 and signed by the Office of Government Ethics’ general counsel David J. Apol.”  That’s a helluva deal.  The certificates are intended to enable people to take jobs with the government without a financial penalty, but obviously they create a huge windfall of tax savings – millions of dollars in this case.

Shamefully, the CMS lied to the Daily Caller initially, and relented only when presented with the evidence the publication had dug up:

The agency initially issued a categorical denial to TheDC that Slavitt had sought and received a special “certificate of divestiture,” a loophole which allowed him to indefinitely defer capital gains taxes on the sale of millions of dollars in equities.

But wait, as the TV pitchmen say, there’s more!  The very special Slavitt received an “ethics waiver” enabling him to work on matters affecting the very interests that made him wealthy (tax-free):

… the administration unexpectedly awarded him a rare “ethics waiver.”

The July 11, 2014 waiver by federal ethics officer Edgar M. Swindell allowed Slavitt to immediately rule on official business that could affect United Health Group — rather than force him to stand down during a mandatory one-year time period as required by Obama’s own ethics rules.

Only about 20 waivers have been granted since the beginning of the Obama administration, according to Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen group.

Michael Smallberg, an investigator for the non-partisan Project on Government Oversight, said the ethics waiver disturbed him.

“It seems to me he is permitted to do a wide range of work that raises conflict of interest concerns,” he told TheDC.

This stinks to high heaven.  How about a congressional investigation?