|11-01-2013, 10:34 AM||Topic Starter|
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Obama bundler's firm hired to fix web mess it created
Obama donor’s firm hired to fix Web mess it created
WASHINGTON — A tech firm linked to a campaign-donor crony of President Obama not only got the job to help build the federal health-insurance Web site — but also is getting paid to fix it.
Anthony Welters, a top campaign bundler for Obama and frequent White House guest, is the executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group, which owns the software company now at the center of the ObamaCare Web-site fiasco.
UnitedHealth Group subsidiary Quality Software Services Inc. (QSSI), which built the data hub for the ObamaCare system, has been named the new general contractor in charge of repairing the glitch-plagued HealthCare.gov.
Welters and his wife, Beatrice, have shoveled piles of cash into Obama’s campaign coffers and *apparently reaped the rewards.
Beatrice Welters bundled donations totaling between $200,000 and $500,000 for Obama’s campaign during the 2008 election *cycle, according to campaign- *finance data compiled by Center for Responsive Politics.
The couple then became top donors for Obama’s inauguration festivities, kicking in $100,000 out of their own pockets and bundling another $300,000 from friends and business associates, according to the center.
The investments quickly paid off for Beatrice Welters. The Obama administration tapped her in 2009 for the plum job of US ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, which she held through last November.
The couple have been frequent guests at the White House. Visitors logs show at least a dozen visits between the two by the end of 2012, the most recent information available.
The Welters, along with their sons, Andrew and Bryant, have contributed more than $258,000 to mostly Democratic candidates and committees since 2007.
What’s more, UnitedHealth Group is one of the largest health-insurance companies in the country and spent millions lobbying for ObamaCare.
The insurance giant’s purchase of QSSI in 2012 raised eyebrows on Capitol Hill, but the tech firm nevertheless kept the job of building the data hub for the ObamaCare Web site where consumers buy the new mandatory health- *insurance plans.
QSSI has been paid an estimated $150 million so far, but officials couldn’t say how much more the company might collect on the *repair contract.
By all accounts, the data hub has run smoothly while many other components of the Web site have failed.
Meanwhile, tempers flared among Obama’s Democratic allies over the disastrous rollout of the president’s signature initiative.
“I’m extraordinarily frustrated,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) *after top Obama-administration officials gave Senate Democrats a private briefing on the state of the Web-site repairs.
He said they were losing confidence the site could be quickly fixed.
“I don’t think there’s confidence by anyone in the room. This is more of a show-me moment,” said Merkley.
Additional reporting by Geoff Earle