The week-long outcry over secretly-taped videos revealing Planned Parenthood's practice of selling body parts of aborted fetuses won't be investigated by the federal agency that provided $67.2 million between 2010 and 2012 -- or even watched by the department's boss.
The House Education and the Workforce Committee Tuesday released videos of testimony from Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell explaining why she won't probe the Planned Parenthood affair. It included this back and forth:
Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.): Have you seen those videos?
Burwell: I have not seen the videos. I have read the articles about them.
Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA): I would like some commitment from you here today on when your department will conduct an investigation on this very, very serious matter…Can you tell me when we're going to do something about that?
Sec. Burwell: This is an important issue and one that there is passionate and emotion and belief on many sides of the issue and want to respect that … With regard to investigating or looking into those issues, as I said, because it is a statutory legal issue, the Department of Justice and the Attorney General has said she has taken those issues under review and will determine what the appropriate next step is.
Chairman John Kline (R-MN): The activities which have been so abhorrent to so many of us that have been revealed in these videos that are the actions of Planned Parenthood, you believe that is solely a matter for the Department of Justice. Is that correct?
Sec. Burwell: With regard to the determination of if a law has been broken, in those cases, that is the Department of Justice. If there are any concerns at all with our grantees, we would want to refer that to our IG and/or the Department of Justice depending on those circumstances.
A third video was released Tuesday by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress that showed a whistleblower who says her biomedical company paid for fetal organs from Planned Parenthood. The Examiner's Paige Winfield Cunningham had the story.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.