Newly released emails undermine previous HealthCare.gov testimony from Todd Park, according to lawmakers who Wednesday voted to subpoena the former federal chief technology officer.
Emails released by a panel on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee show Park discussing cyber preparations and administration talking points a month before the launch of the federal insurance website.
During the months prior, he also asked for updates on the development workflow and security of the site, the emails reveal.
The subcommittee’s Chairman Paul Broun, R-Ga., said these emails contradict testimony Park gave last Nov. 13, when a different House committee subpoenaed him.
“I don’t actually have a really detailed knowledge base of what actually happened pre-Oct. 1,” Park said at that time -- a statement Broun and other Republicans don't believe. “I don’t know what levers were available so I hesitate to make any point now.”
HealthCare.gov was essentially unusable when it launched Oct. 1, 2013. Park helped lead the team that came in to fix the site within a few months and has been credited with helping to save a mess of a situation.
But Republican lawmakers have for nearly a year sought to tie him more closely to the run-up to the launch, implicating him -- and by extension, the White House where he worked -- in the site’s initial failure.
The oversight panel of the Science, Space and Technology Committee requested Park’s voluntary testimony on five occasions since last October, it said, justifying the vote to subpoena him. The subpoena was approved Wednesday afternoon in a 4-3 vote along party lines.
“We have made every effort to invite Mr. Park to testify,” Broun said in prepared testimony, adding that he found the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s “lack of transparency and accountability to be intolerable.” Park works out of OSTP.
Park last month stepped down from the CTO role to work for the White House from Silicon Valley as a liaison to the private sector technology industry.
Republicans revived the issue of his role in the development of HealthCare.gov after revelations earlier this month that the site had been hacked. While no personal information was compromised, the security of the site was called into question.
A report from the Government Accountability Report released this week also noted the site had suffered security issues on first launch and remains vulnerable today.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee meanwhile will hold a hearing Thursday on the security of the site. Marilyn Tavenner, the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services -- the agency responsible for building the site -- is set to testify.