Insurers are trying to buy the California Insurance Commissioner's Office!The insurance industry has funneled more than $3.8 Million since late September 2010 to a Chamber of Commerce committee running TV and radio ads to elect candidate Mike Villines and attack candidate Dave Jones.
Because the insurance companies are funneling their money through the Chamber of Commerce "JobsPAC" committee, the advertisements do not disclose the fact that insurers are funding these deceptive ads. In this video, consumer advocate Harvey Rosenfield breaks down the insurance industry's stealth campaign to hand-pick their next regulator.
The total industry donations to date are:
Because the public has been skeptical of any candidate associated with insurance money since the 2000 scandal involving former commissioner Chuck Quackenbush, the industry is funneling money through the California Chamber of Commerce political committee known as JobsPAC. Advertisements paid for by JobsPAC won't reveal the insurance money actually behind the ads. Instead, the disclosure reads:
"PAID FOR BY JOBSPAC, A BI-PARTISAN COALITION OF CALIFORNIA EMPLOYERS. NOT AUTHORIZED BY A CANDIDATE OR CANDIDATE-CONTROLLED COMMITTEE"
Average voters who see or hear the advertisements will never know the ads are fully funded by the insurance companies that are trying to control the Office of Insurance Commissioner.
Voters need to know that insurance companies are spending millions to capture the Department of Insurance. And policyholders need to know that their premium dollars are being spent on efforts to elect the insurance companies' choice for commissioner.
Campaign for Consumer Rights is urging policyholders with any insurance company to contact their agent and tell them not to spend our premium dollars trying to buy the insurance commissioner's office.
WHAT'S AT STAKE FOR INSURANCE COMPANIES
Car insurance chieftain George Joseph, Chairman of Mercury Insurance, has contributed $1,000,000; his company is currently the subject of multiple enforcement actions by the Department of Insurance and faces a possible hearing related to a proposed insurance rate hike. After Mercury lost its campaign to enact the anti-consumer measure Proposition 17 last June, the Los Angeles Times reported that Mercury said it "might carry on the fight for regulation revisions they expect to bring more business their way."
Allstate has put up $1,150,000 for this race. In recent years, the insurance commissioner has forced Allstate to lower auto and homeowner rates by a half billion dollars. Currently, the Department of Insurance is reviewing some of the auto insurance policies the company sells do determine whether or not the policies comply with state consumer protection laws.
Anthem Blue Cross has donated $150,000. The company had a 39% rate hike turned back by Insurance Commissioner Poizner earlier this year. Anthem has consistently fought legislation proposed by Jones that would have the Department of Insurance regulate health insurance rates. Most importantly, the insurance commissioner will play a major role in the development of key rules for implementing federal health care reform and assessing the reasonableness of Anthem's future rate hikes.
The Campaign for Consumer Rights (CCR), a California-based nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization, is the advocacy and campaign affiliate of the Consumer Watchdog (Formerly the Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights). CCR and its campaign committee, Election Watchdog, were organized to protect consumers' interests in the ballot initiative and legislative process. We do not take positions on candidate elections.
Over the years CCR has co-sponsored ballot propositions on energy deregulation and HMO reform. It has fought corporate efforts to weaken the legal rights of consumers and has successfully campaigned to preserve some of the nation’s toughest municipal conflict of interest laws. Donations to CCR are not tax deductible.
CCR is chaired by nationally recognized consumer advocate and author of insurance reform Proposition 103, Harvey Rosenfield. Also on its board of directors is consumer activist Jamie Court, author of The Progressive's Guide to Raising Hell. Rosenfield founded CCR's affiliate Consumer Watchdog, and Court currently serves as Consumer Watchdog's president.