By Cheryl Sullenger
Washington, D.C. – Despite parliamentary antics on the parts of pro-Planned Parenthood Democratic members of the Select Panel on Infant Lives, followed by several minutes of castigation of the Panel’s investigation, a markup meeting took place today where the Panel voted to hold StemExpress and its CEO, Cate Dyer, in contempt for failing to comply with subpoenas.
Democratic members, led by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, refused to participate in the actual vote and walked out of the meeting. The resolution passed with 8 yes votes.
A House Resolution Report seeking the contempt charges details a pattern of deception and stonewalling employed by StemExpress that was used to stall an investigation by the House Select Panel on Infant Lives.
StemExpress, an organ procurement company, was under investigation by the Select Panel due to its financial and professional relationship with Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses. Evidence released by the Center for Medical Progress last year indicated that Planned Parenthood illegally profited financially from the sale of aborted baby remains to StemExpress and other organ procurement organizations.
At issue are accounting records that were first voluntarily requested by the Select Panel from StemExpress. Instead of accounting documents, the Select Panel was provided inadequate summaries. When Dyer and her company refused to comply, the Select Panel issued subpoenas to require compliance.
According to the report, StemExpress told the Select Panel to seek the financial records from its outside accountant, the Scinto Group. However, when the Panel approached the Scinto Group, it refused to comply because Stem Express objected to their compliance.
The panel was also told to seek accounting documents from a former accountant, Sara Lee Heuston, who happened to be represented by StemExpress’ attorney. During a conversation with Heuston, she told the Select Panel she had no documents “and that if the Panel contacted her again she would call the police.”
Dyer has refused to supply the Select Panel with the names of current accountants for her company.
“This is the very definition of the ‘run-around,’” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue who also served as a founding board member for the Center for Medical Progress. “Dyer has a lot to hide, so to keep the Select Panel accessing incriminating documents that may implicate her and her Planned Parenthood cohorts, she would rather face contempt charges.”
The efforts by the Select Panel spanning to obtain the accounting documents from Dyer and StemExpress have spanned eight months. Now Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Chairman of the Select Panel, believes they have reached an impasse, which is impeding the Panel’s ability to conduct the investigation with which it was tasked.
Rep. Blackburn sought the contempt charges to break through the stonewalling and compel compliance so the Panel could get to the truth about whether laws were broken.
The contempt resolution will be referred to the full Committee on Energy and Commerce. If it is approved, it will be referred to the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan for certification. Contempt is a Class A misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of $100,000.
In a separate matter, Rep. Blackburn removed from the agenda a resolution to release the May 11, 2016, deposition of abortionist Eve Espey of the University of New Mexico. The deposition was taken as part of the Panel’s investigation into the UNM and Southwestern Women’s Options, a late term abortion facility that supplied UNM with aborted baby remains. No reason for removing the resolution was given.
Read the Select Panel’s Contempt Resolution Report
This breaking news report has been updated.