Panel charges White House involvement in Obamacare website woes.
Todd Park barely had a chance to get out of Washington before lawmakers began calling him back. Now, the White House’s just-departed chief technologist may be compelled to testify about his role in securing the Obamacare website.
House Republicans say they are exploring the White House’s role in the security of HealthCare.gov, which was called into question last month amid revelations a marketplace-related server had been breached.
A panel on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee plans to meet Wednesday to vote on subpoenaing Todd Park, who last month resigned as the federal chief technology officer to work for the White House from Silicon Valley as a liaison to the tech industry.
The subcommittee said Park has refused multiple invitations to testify -- most recently, last week when he allegedly canceled a day before a scheduled meeting. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy by Monday afternoon had not responded to Nextgov's questions about the incident.
Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, suggested the Obama administration was purposefully withholding information. “What is the White House trying to hide?” he asked.
“We don’t know how many other security breaches have gone unreported," he said in a statement, citing the recently reported hack. "The American people deserve transparency and accountability for the security of their personal information on HealthCare.gov.”
The recent breach -- which occurred in July and was reported in August -- did not compromise consumer information. Rather, the perpetrators were able to install malware designed to overwhelm other websites.
Not the First Subpoena Threat for Park
This isn’t the first time lawmakers have tried to pull Park into the HealthCare.gov controversy. Democrats, meanwhile, credit the former CTO with playing a key role in pulling together the team that fixed the site’s initial glitches.
Park was subpoenaed to testify before Congress in November 2013 about his role in developing the HealthCare.gov website, which was essentially unusable when it launched last October.
House oversight committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., at that time told Fox News that “Todd Park and other political appointees” were part of “a pattern of interference and false statements" during lawmakers' probe of the site's failures.
Democrats came to Park’s defense, with Reps. Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Gerry Connolly of Virginia requesting unsuccessfully that Issa withdraw the subpoena.
“The evidence before our committee demonstrates that Mr. Park is an honest and exemplary public servant, and your unsubstantiated public attacks against his integrity are a deficient basis on which to justify a subpoena against him,” they said.
Still, obliged to testify, Park responded to Issa’s rigorous questioning by detailing the progress that had already been made on the health care website.
Issa plans on Thursday to convene his own hearing on HealthCare.gov security, unrelated to the latest Park subpoena.