HHS Nominee Criticized Over Abortion Funds

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Health and Human Services secretary nominee Kathleen Sebelius has already been heavily criticized by pro-life groups because of her abortion record as governor of Kansas.

Now she is under fire for not disclosing all of the campaign money she received from controversial abortionist George Tiller.

Click play for more of CBN News White House Correspondent David Brody's analysis.

A senior Senate Republican aide told CBN News that this is a transparency issue as well as a life issue, and something the GOP will want to know more about.

Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, said the undisclosed Tiller donations have changed the landscape of the Sebelius nomination.

Since she was nominated, pro-life groups like the FRC have zeroed in on Sebelius's abortion record as governor.

Accepting 'Blood Money?'

Their list of complaints is long, including her relationship with Tiller. In her written questionnaire submitted to the Senate committee overseeing her nomination, Sebelius was asked by Sen. Jon Kyl about her financial connections to Tiller.

She originally disclosed $12,450 in donations from him, but it's now been revealed that she left off $10,000 more she received from Tiller and $13,000 from his abortion clinic.

That equals about three times as much as her original disclosure.

"I'm not sure that it was an oversight," Perkins told CBN News. "The fact that she reported contributions from Tiller himself... but conveniently forgot to report contributions from an abortion clinic, it's a big difference."

"While he's an abortion doctor, receiving money directly from abortion clinics-- some would call that political blood money," he added.

Still Under Review

A spokesman for Sen. Charles Grasssley, who is the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, told CBN News the committee won't vote on Sebelius' nomination until the senators are "reasonably satisfied with a nominee's responses to questions for the record."

"The senators are reviewing the responses to hundreds of questions for the record from Gov. Sebelius," he added. "The corrected response and explanation for the correction to Sen. Kyl's question will be part of the mix when they come in."

Sebelius's defenders say she's been unfairly targeted. They say as a Catholic she's personally against abortion and her supporters say she signed bills that promoted adoption and prenatal care.

"They're not really looking at her record honestly. Abortions have declined 10 percent in Kansas," said James Salt of Catholics United.

During Sebelius' confirmation hearing, Republican senators didn't make much of an issue about her abortion record or her relationship with the late-term abortion doctor. Perkins, however, believes that may change.

"It raises the question [of] 'what else has she not told us?' What other things remain in Sebelius' closet? What other alliances are there? What other political contributions may have tainted her decisions as governor?" he pointed out. "These are questions that I think are running through the minds of many senators right now."

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CBN News
David Brody

David Brody

CBN News White House Correspondent

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