Kirby Vining v. Executive Board of the District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange Authority (No. 14-0006496)
On October 15, Judicial Watch filed a taxpayer lawsuit against the District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange Authority to stop Congress from participating in D.C.’s “Small Business Exchange.” At least 12,359 members of Congress, congressional staffers, and their spouses and dependents currently purchase health insurance in D.C.’s “Small Business Exchange” even though Congress far exceeds D.C. law’s 50-employee limit for participating in the exchange. The lawsuit, which also names the Exchange Authority and its Executive Director, Mila Kofman, as defendants, was filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on behalf of D.C. taxpayer Kirby Vining.
The Judicial Watch lawsuit charges that:
- “Since November 2013, the Exchange Authority has allowed the U.S. House of Representatives (“the House”) and the U.S. Senate (“the Senate”) (collectively “Congress”) to use the Small Business Exchange to provide health insurance to members of Congress, certain congressional staffers, and their spouses and dependents.”
- “Beginning in early November 2013, the Exchange Authority conducted outreach efforts to the House and Senate about Congress’ participation in the Small Business Exchange and provided weekly support sessions to assist members of Congress and staff with enrollment. These outreach efforts, weekly support sessions, and Congress’ participation in the Exchange generally were discussed at a November 13, 2013 meeting of the Executive Board, and on November 20, 2013, Executive Director Kofman testified [starting at 1:46:00] before the Senate’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee about Congress’ participation in the Small Business Exchange.”
- “When Congress applied to participate in the Small Business Exchange, representatives falsely asserted that the House and the Senate each employ 50 or fewer full-time employees. Specifically, records provided by the Exchange Authority in response to a Freedom of Information Act request show that both the House and the Senate falsely claimed that they each employ only 45 full-time employees.”
- “On information and belief, the Executive Board and Executive Director Kofman knew that the House and the Senate each have more than 50 full-time employees and knew or should have known that Congress’ certifications to the contrary were false.”
- “At least 12,359 members of Congress, congressional staffers, and their spouses and dependents obtained health insurance through the Small Business Exchange as of February 9, 2014. These 12,359 persons represent approximately 86 percent of the 14,289 persons enrolled in the Small Business Exchange between October 1, 2013 and September 9, 2014.”
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