Washington, D.C. – Americans call insurance companies a lot of names, but now Aetna can add a new one to its list: CREW’s Scoundrel of the Month. In June, CREW exposed Aetna’s more than $7 million in contributions to the American Action Network (AAN) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, purportedly for “educational activities.” Really, the money was spent to secretly influence Americans’ votes.
AAN does little but run vicious political attacks and the Chamber of Commerce spends tens of millions on ads, but tax laws don’t require either group to disclose its donors. By hiding behind political front groups, Aetna is trying to keep its customers, shareholders, and the voting public in the dark while working to influence our laws and votes.
“It’s hard to fathom how vitriolic, deceitful, attack campaign ads can be educational,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “If Aetna intends to use corporate funds to sway the elections in 2012, perhaps it should stop hiding behind AAN’s skirt. Americans should know what Aetna is really doing with their insurance premiums.”
It’s naïve to think other companies aren’t doing the same. CREW will keep the pressure on Aetna and stay on the lookout for other corporations secretly working to influence our elections.
Nominations are being accepted for July’s Scoundrel of the Month. People, entities, and agencies are all eligible. Get your choices in by Friday, July 20. Voting will begin the following week.