Failed Canadian Company Spent $1 Million Lobbying Congress For Obamacare Website Contract

By: Michael Lotfi
26

Ocare


They say if you follow the money then you’ll find yourself irate and experiencing a visceral reaction. As it turns out, CGI, a Canadian business-marketing firm, which took the largest slice of Healthcare.gov’s more than $300 million price tag, has been lobbying Congress for years.

According to CNN, Canadian firm CGI Group, took the prize. It received $88 million through last March 31. Its original $93.7 million contract runs through December, with three one-year option periods still possible.

Revelations that the Canadian based company was recently fired by the Canadian government for their failed record with Canadian healthcare websites prompted more independent research.

As it turns out, the company has been lobbying Congress since 2009 with specific interests paid to “Health Care reform-H.R. 3926 (Obamacare), Government IT SystemsFederally-Facilitated Health Exchange.”

The company’s lobbying work is represented by Holland & Knight LLP.

In total, the group has spent $1 million since their federally sponsored healthcare lobbying efforts began in 2009. The firm has been pumping money in at an increased rate since President Obama took office. The firm has spent $2 million lobbying Congress since 2003- fifty percent of which was spent in the last 4 years.

The group has donated $1.5 million to congressional elections, Super PACs, and presidential campaigns since 2000. The majority of donations over the past few election cycles have gone to democrats.

The company’s initial $1 million “investment” paid off by way of a $94 million contract to build a broken website. Not a bad return when you consider the fact that the company uses 10-year-old technology.

Rather than hold CGI accountable, reports claim that the Obama administration is going to spend more money to bring in Verizon to help fix the website.

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Michael Lotfi is a political analyst and strategist living in Nashville, Tennessee where he works as the executive director for the Tenth Amendment Center (TN). Lotfi also writes a column at The Washington Times called "American Millennial". Lotfi graduated in the top 5% of his class with honors from Belmont University, an award winning, private university located in Nashville, Tennessee.

  • Joshua Allen Donini

    Sadly, I am not surprised.

  • Slim_Strontem

    How much money did Verizon give?

    • jbo5112

      They gave everyone’s phone data.

  • CommonSense101

    And delaying the mandate for individuals to file was a bad idea because?? They are going to have to re-write the entire program if they do bring in another firm to do this. It will take twice as long to try and “fix” the broken code without completely redoing it. So consider that 98 million wasted. I have experience (although no expert) in website design/coding, and being handed someones broken puzzle half way through is a disaster. All it takes is for one piece of code to be wrong and the whole thing will not work…they have millions of lines of code. Also, why in the world did we contract this work to Canada? And I don’t mean anything negative towards Canadians, but really, are their enough jobs in the US now or something?

    • Lucky Leisuresuit Larry

      Just you wait. Obama and Reid are going to push the individual extension until after the 2014 elections and come out looking like heroes for doing exactly what the House has been asking them to do.

      • CommonSense101

        I can definitely see that happening. After all, that’s why they didn’t want to institute any of this before the 2012 elections. It’s no way they didn’t know this wouldn’t work properly, they didn’t even do any alpha or beta tests on it. If they do push it back then that’s going to be a big slap in the face to the Democratic party before elections anyway. But they don’t usually admit to mistakes so maybe they are just going to keep it and fine everyone for not signing up. Goodbye tax returns.

  • bwglive

    Ha ha, Canadian’s are taking over your health care. You too will see long line ups, unnecessary delays of drugs entering the market, endless loops of referrals, and a new whole swath of bureaucrats to deal with every day.

    • simonsezme

      Where does this happen ? I live in Vancouver, Canada and haven’t witnessed any of this. Never line up for healthcare. Doctors office is one block away and longest I ever wait is 25 minutes. Its single payer, meaning no loop. NEVER deal with any administration ever. Our per capita cost of delivering healthcare to EVERYONE in the Country is 3600 per person. In the US its more than 7k and 50 million are not covered. Say what you will about the Canadian Healthcare system, it works better than fine.

      • madscientist

        I work for a Canadian based company, and as a result work with a lot of Canadians. I also have relations living in Canada. All of them seem pretty happy with their healthcare, and seem baffled at these “myths” that are continually perpetuated about their system. I also have many relations who live in Germany. They also are pretty happy all around with their socialized health care, and are amazed at the horror stories I tell about my experiences here in the US with insurers, and health care providers.

        • simonsezme

          I’m sure you have heard the stories about buses coming up full of seniors to buy their meds because prescriptions are much cheaper here too. I don’t get it. Sounds like the Insurance companies are kicking and screaming to save their gravy train. Single payer is the solution for every other democratically elected Country elsewhere and all of them enjoy a better standard of health overall with longer life spans than in the US.

  • ghendric

    If Verizon had any guts, they would tell Obama to take his tax hike and shove it.. screw that progressive agenda!!

    • hsmom2004

      Why not gather yet even more information for the government? Shoot they’ve got many people’s personal identification information already, plus other data, just shoot that on over and tell people what type of insurance they will get. Oh, wait, that’s Communism, isn’t it?

  • CommonSense101

    Like him or hate him, Alex Jones had a good interview with John McAfee (the guy who invented anti-virus software) yesterday and they discussed this problem. It’s on Youtube.

    • Eric

      please share the link to the video.

  • destructo

    Failed Canadian Company?? They’re the biggest IT company in Canada, 5th largest in the world, and growing in every way (see stock charts). And ‘business-marketing firm’?? They’re an IT company. Do some basic research before you run a company through the mud.

    • CommonSense101

      I’m not disputing what you said necessarily, but if they are so good….why are there so many problems?

      • CommonSense101

        Destucto: It is saying your comment (for some reason) is awaiting moderation. I’m just going to Copy&Paste what you replied to me instead of waiting.

        Destructo said, “Every company, small or large, has technical challenges now and again. I don’t think many of the commentators raising this case in US media understand the complexities of a website like this. There are numerous dependencies on outside systems, e.g. application interfaces to insurance companies. You simply cannot blame a single contractor for the troubles on Healthcare.gov. I don’t disagree that this rollout should have gone smoother, and should have scaled to handle the intense amount of traffic, but try to realize that there are elements to the problem that you do not understand.”

        My Reply: I do understand the technical challenges, and I understand that there will always be small glitches when rolling out new software but these aren’t small glitches. They had three years to accomplish this, and they spent one million dollars making sure they got this contract. They were then paid 98 million to accomplish it. You say you can’t simply blame one contractor, but they are the ones responsible for developing this
        idea, the wireframe so-to-speak, then they subcontract out the
        application interfaces to each insurance company. If they subcontracted those out to smaller companies without clear specs on what is required for it to work properly, then it’s still the Canadian companies fault for not providing said specs. I do realize that there are elements to the problem that I don’t fully understand (and evidently they don’t either) but I do have experience with website development and accommodating for different platforms, but I have a better grasp on the situation than the majority of the population. Shit rolls down hill,
        but it starts at the top. Just curious, are you affiliated with
        Canadian firm? Your defense of the company leads me to believe you could, and if you have more information about what’s really going on I’d love to know.

        • destructo

          Hey sorry for the delay on this, didn’t see the reply until now.

          I’m sure you’re aware now based on what’s coming out of the Congressional hearing that it wasn’t just a CGI problem. Being in this business (yes I work for one division of CGI) these issues sound all too familiar. A client (CMS) that demands a major fundamental change to the site (register before you shop) just 4 weeks prior to launch, then only leaves 2 weeks for end-to-end UAT (user acceptance testing). You simply cannot have dates set in stone in the web development business. You have to remain agile to ensure the product you’re launching is of quality. It sounds to me like CGI (and all the other vendors) were pressured into a launch date that was simply unrealistic.

          Of course, my opinion is biased, but this is my 2 cents on the situation.

    • just a man
  • hsmom2004

    I’m curious about the legality of allowing non-American companies to lobby and provide funds to PACs and such for our representatives. That seems to be a conflict of interest. While it is likely not at all illegal, it is still improper and it seems restrictions should be provided against such things. We have plenty of computer companies and individuals with technical skills to accomplish such a job with less money and more effectively. On the other hand, one cannot accuse an American company of trying to sabotage the roll-out.

    • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/robertrule Robert Rule

      I used to work there. They do more than healthcare. They are also involved in our defense at high levels.

    • PaxMacian

      How is it not treason to force the people to hand over all their private information to a foreign body?

  • Justaguy

    The people who run the websites do know that there are tons of hactivest groups knocking their sites down right? Does not matter how much they spend or who is running the sites, people continue to make sure they do not work

  • PaxMacian

    2010 CGI paid 1.1 billion for Stanley Inc. They make US Passports and at the time had revenues in excess of 1.5 billion per year. They also had a breach of access to Obama’s and Hillary’s passport information. What do they know about Obama’s travels to Pakistan when no American was permitted?

  • BOB Berry

    It wasn’t up and running by the due date why should taxpayers still be paying the bill? Refund !!