Kathleen Sebelius

At least seven U.S. communities that received stimulus money as part of a $373 million government program to educate Americans about obesity and tobacco use potentially violated federal law by using the funds to lobby for higher taxes and new local laws, according to a report by the nonpartisan group Cause of Action.

The findings are part of a 19-month investigation by the nonprofit group on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Communities Putting Prevention to Work Program.”

Beyond potentially breaking federal law, the communities also appear to have violated CDC guidelines, according to the 36-page report titled “How the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s … Grant Program Became a Front for Lobbying, Government Propaganda and Cronyism.”