Friday, August 8, 2008

Senator Under Fire for Humanitarian Work

Pro-life Oklahoma Senator Thomas Allen Coburn's practice of delivering babies for free has come under the scrutiny of the Senate Ethics committee chaired by rabidly pro-abortion California Senator Barbara Boxer.

Here is a portion of The Hill's article on the matter:

Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-Okla.) office hit back Monday at new attempts to prevent him from delivering babies for free, arguing the Ethics panel might as well investigate Sen. Patrick Leahy’s (D-Vt.) cameo in “The Dark Knight.”

Coburn has come under new pressure from the Ethics panel for delivering babies at the Muskogee Regional Medical Center, which changed from a public to a private institution in April last year after it was acquired by Capella Healthcare.

Because of potential conflicts of interest, Senate rules prohibit members from receiving compensation for practicing a profession that involves a fiduciary relationship. Coburn’s work as an obstetrician has been a subject of interest for ethics panels in the Senate and the House when he was a representative. Sources said the fact that Muskogee is now a private hospital has renewed the ethics panel’s interest in Coburn’s work.

In May, Coburn received a strongly worded “final determination” memo threatening him with a Senate censure if he did not stop delivering babies for free. The letter prompted several heated meetings between Coburn and the Ethics Committee in June over the matter, according to two knowledgeable Senate sources.

Coburn spokesman John Hart agreed to discuss the issue only after The Hill contacted his office several times over the past two weeks. He called the Ethics panel’s logic “absurd” and its argument “inane.”

“Just as parents don't choose him hoping to sway his vote, parents don't choose to receive his services at a particular hospital because Dr. Coburn has somehow endorsed that hospital because he is a senator,” Hart said in a statement e-mailed to The Hill. “The committee has shown us zero empirical evidence to back up its flimsy claim.

“Has Sen. Leahy provided an improper endorsement to Warner Brothers for appearing in Batman?” Hart asked. “Will millions of Americans now see Batman not because it features stars like Christian Bale or the late Heath Ledger, but because Patrick Leahy, a distinguished United States senator, has offered his illustrious endorsement to this motion picture?

Hart also said the Ethics panel should investigate Reid and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who chairs the Ethics panel, for book signings they’ve had at privately owned bookstores if they are going to investigate Coburn’s baby deliveries.

“If the committee wants to walk down this path, we would expect they will investigate Sens. Reid and Boxer, who have both held books signing [sic] events at privately owned book stores,” Hart wrote. “After all, their events endorsed one book store over another. If Dr. Coburn can only deliver babies for free at public hospitals, Senators should only be permitted to sign books at public libraries.”

Asked about the recent Ethics Committee action, Coburn said he doesn’t believe he is in violation and will continue to fight any action taken against him. Complete article.

You might want to also know that the privately held entity, the Muskogee Regional Medical Center, which house's Coburn's practice is itself a "not for profit" enterprise.

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