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CREW and Others Call for Increased Disclosure of Political Spending by Insurance Companies
WASHINGTON - July 16 - Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and other organizations called on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the regulatory organization for the insurance industry, to require insurance companies to disclose all political spending from corporate funds.
Recent revelations, including the discovery that the insurance giant Aetna contributed more than $7 million to the American Action Network and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have underscored efforts by companies to illicitly influence the 2012 elections.
“Corporate shareholders and policy holders are entitled to know what insurance companies are doing with their investment dollars and hard-earned insurance payments,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “Americans should not have to find out insurance companies’ hidden agendas by accident. The NAIC should give these corporations the extra push by requiring disclosure of political spending.”
The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision dramatically changed campaign finance and invalidated numerous rules regarding political spending. As a result, corporations now enjoy the freedom to spend general funds on independent political expenditures and electioneering communications. As companies have increased their political spending, shareholder demands for disclosure of this spending have followed.
Today, CREW also wrote to the Securities and Exchange Commission to follow up on an earlier letter encouraging the agency to issue regulations requiring greater disclosure of political expenditures by corporations.
“As the Senate takes up the DISCLOSE Act, it is critical to keep the heat on corporations resorting to shady methods to influence voters,” continued Ms. Sloan. “Just because companies like Aetna don’t tell the public what they’re up to doesn’t mean they are hiding their spending from everyone. Companies that reach into their coffers to help lawmakers win seats will expect gratitude in the form of legislative favors. Americans should know how their insurance premiums are being spent to influence their votes.”