By Chuck Ross
A Kansas Obamacare “navigator” stormed the property of the Republican secretary of state earlier this year, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.
“It is shocking that the Obama administration has hired as a navigator a person who has been caught trespassing and attempting to intimidate a public official,” Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach told TheDCNF.
“This kind of thug activity is bad enough, but giving this person federal tax dollars is sickening,” he added.Under the Affordable Care Act, 105 organizations have received $67 million in federal to help guide Obamacare enrollees through the process of obtaining health insurance under the new system. Veronica Miranda was one of four people, called navigators, filling this role in the Wichita area.
Miranda is also a member of Sunflower Community Action, which organized the invasion of Kobach’s property back in June.
Miranda is shown on the organization’s social media sites taking part in rallies and various other campaigns, mostly in support of immigrant rights. (RELATED: Report: Illegal immigrant hired as Obamacare ‘navigator’)
In 2012, Kobach said that Sunflower Community Action had “taken up ACORN’s mantle here in Kansas.”
Like the now-defunct ACORN, Sunflower Community Action is a non-profit grassroots community organizer. Sunflower Community Action is affiliated with the Chicago-based National People’s Action.On June 15, around 200 protesters organized by the Wichita-based group occupied Kobach’s property, which is located near Kansas City.
The protesters left shoes on Kobach’s doorstep as a symbol of the fathers that, according to the group, his policies were responsible for deporting. Kobach has been a strong opponent of illegal immigration.
A photograph showing Miranda surrounded by fellow Kobach protesters in front of the buses that transported the protesters to the Republican’s home was posted to the navigator’s Instagram account. Another photo shows Miranda among a larger group of protesters lined up in front of four buses.
Miranda was hired as an Obamacare navigator through Hunter Health Clinic, which is located in Wichita.
Hunter Health Clinic received a grant to provide the navigator services. Overall three larger organizations won federal grant money totaling nearly $900,000 for those services.
Sunflower Community Action helped advertise the navigator services by directing visitors towards Miranda.
“Questions about your health coverage opportunities under the new Affordable Care Act?” read a post on the organization’s Facebook page. “Like the Hunter Health Clinic page to ask questions and keep up to date about upcoming informative presentations around the city lead by health care navigator and SCA member Veronica Miranda.”
At the time, Kobach called the siege of his property threatening, though he and his family were not home during the protest. Kobach also called for an investigation into the event saying that at the very least criminal trespassing had occurred.
Kobach said it was “problematic” that navigator funds are being dispersed to “any community organizer with his or her hand out.”
“It’s troubling, the low level of scrutiny that’s apparently is being given to this navigator program,” Kobach told TheDCNF.
Security and privacy have been a major concern of those critical of Obamacare and the navigator program.
Miranda isn’t the first Kansas-based Obamacare navigator with a checkered past.
Rosilyn Wells, who is the lone Obamacare navigator for Lawrence, Kansas, has a criminal warrant out for her arrest. In 2007 she was charged with passing fraudulent checks. She also filed for bankruptcy in 2003. (RELATED: Obamacare ‘navigator’ in Kansas has outstanding arrest warrant)
Some critics of the navigator system worry that the screening process is not robust enough, given that navigators will be handling potential customers’ private health and financial information.
Contacted by TheDCNF, Miranda said that she was unable to provide comment on her affiliation with Sunflower Community Action.
But Michelle Base, CEO of Hunter Health Clinic, confirmed for TheDCNF that Miranda was present at the protest on Kobach’s property.
A spokeswoman for the Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved — which serves as the lead agency for the state’s navigation program told TheDCNF that engaging in political activity is not an impediment to obtaining an Obamacare navigator role.
“Each navigator goes through a criminal background check completed by a national company who specializes in this. Our navigators do not collect or store personal health or financial information,” said Katrina McGivern.
McGivern said navigators are given extensive training in which it is stressed that they are not allowed to store or transmit private information. Navigators reportedly receive between 20 and 30 hours of training.
FoxNews.com reported that the United Labor Unions Council Local 100 in New Orleans — whose founder was an ACORN organizer — was attempting to participate in navigator drives.
Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Tim Murphy, who is head of a committee investigating the navigator program, told FoxNews.com that he was worried about the potential for misused funds.
“With the administration rushing to hand out billions of dollars for the health law to countless groups, the potential for fraud and abuse is exceptionally high,” said Murphy.