CAMPAIGN FOR CONSUMER RIGHTS NEWS

October 21, 2010
Contact: Jamie Court 310-392-0522 ext. 327 or Douglas Heller ext. 309

Consumer Group Airs “Consumer Alert” Radio Advertisement Warning About Insurance Industry Money Attempting To Buy Office of California Insurance Commissioner

Insurance Company Campaign Spends Another $900,000 On Insurance Commissioner Race

Santa Monica, CA – Campaign for Consumer Rights released a new radio advertisement today to alert the public that insurance companies are spending millions of dollars on deceptive television and radio ads to influence the race for insurance commissioner. Consumer advocates are highlighting the fact that more than $2 million in industry-funded advertisements supporting insurance commissioner candidate Mike Villines and opposing Dave Jones do not mention the insurance companies’ funding of the effort. The disclosure instead refers only to the Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee known as “JobsPAC,” through which several insurance companies are laundering their donations.

Since the resignation, ten years ago, of Chuck Quackenbush, who had received about $8 million in insurance industry contributions, insurance industry money has not had a hand in electing a commissioner, either Democrat or Republican. Consumer advocates say this is the first time in a decade that insurance companies are running a major campaign to choose who regulates their industry. Links to the insurers' TV and radio ads are below.

"The insurance companies' deceptive ad campaign is a fraud upon the voters and people need to know about it," said Harvey Rosenfield, Campaign for Consumer Rights Chairman and author of the 1988 insurance reform measure Proposition 103. "The insurance industry is trying to buy the office of elected commissioner that voters created 22 years ago. The public needs to know that the TV commercials they are seeing about the insurance commissioner race are paid by the insurance companies."

Listen to the radio ad by Campaign for Consumer Rights here: http://www.campaignforconsumerrights.org/resources/ConsumerAlert.mp3.

The text of the Consumer Rights ad is:

This is a Consumer Alert from the Campaign For Consumer Rights.

Alert. Insurance companies are spending millions of dollars on deceptive television ads to buy the office of insurance commissioner.

This just in. The big insurance companies have spent at least $1.2 million to support Mike Villines for Insurance Commissioner and to oppose Dave Jones.

Warning. Big insurance companies with billions of dollars in rate hikes at stake should not be allow allowed to hand pick their choice for next Insurance Commissioner.

Don’t be deceived. If you hear an advertisement supporting Mike Villines for insurance commissioner or attacking Dave Jones paid for by Jobs PAC, know that insurance companies are really behind it.

Call your insurance company and let them know you don't want your policyholder dollars being used to buy the office of insurance commissioner.

Learn more at stoptheinsurers.org.

Paid for by the Campaign For Consumer Rights, with major funding by the California Nurses Association Initiative PAC.

The industry's advertisements funded by insurance donations don'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"

Official reports filed with the Secretary of State show that insurance companies have made the following contributions to JobsPAC, totaling $2,655,000 since late September:

  • George Joseph, Chairman of Mercury Insurance - $775,000
  • Allstate Insurance - $700,000
  • Liberty Mutual - $490,000
  • Progressive Insurance - $390,000
  • Anthem Blue Cross - $100,000
  • Health Net - $100,000
  • Farmers Insurance- $100,000

To date, JobsPAC has spent approximately $1.3 million on ads attacking candidate Dave Jones and more than $1 million on ads supporting Mike Villines. This includes almost $900,000 in campaign expenditures filed with Secretary of State on Wednesday.

View the insurance industry's television ad here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZgAADaiigY. Listen to the insurance industry's radio ad here: http://www.campaignforconsumerrights.org/resources/JonesVillinesRadio.mp3.

Consumer advocates note that insurance companies are spending millions of dollars to influence this election because there are billions of dollars at stake. On the http://StopTheInsurers.org website, which is hosted by Campaign for Consumer Rights, the advocates explain some of the specific cases and issues before the Department of Insurance relating directly to the companies involved in this deceptive campaign.

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