Insurance Companies Double Down On Deceptive Campaign to Influence Insurance Commissioner Race; Companies On Track To Spend $5 Million

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$2.655 Million To Date To Sacramento Political Committee That Doesn’t Disclose Industry Funding In Ads Supporting Villines, Attacking Jones

Santa Monica, CA – Insurance companies’ addition of $1.365 million this weekend to their campaign to elect Mike Villines as insurance commissioner is consistent with Consumer Watchdog’s expectation that the industry will spend at least $5 million before election day.

The following insurance industry contributions, totaling $2.655 million, have been given to a Sacramento political committee called "JobsPAC," 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 $845,000 on ads attacking candidate Dave Jones and $566,000 on ads supporting Mike Villines. Consumer advocates expect that JobsPAC will report another one million dollar expenditure on the race in the next few days and another two to three million dollars in insurance industry contributions and campaign expenditures before election day.

Because the industry money is first going to JobsPAC, the fact that it came from insurance companies will not be disclosed to voters who see or hear the ads. A copy of the television advertisement being aired can be viewed here or watched below. The advertisement’s disclosure, which makes no mention of insurance company funding, reads: "PAID FOR BY JOBSPAC, A BI-PARTISAN COALITION OF CALIFORNIA EMPLOYERS. NOT AUTHORIZED BY A CANDIDATE OR CANDIDATE-CONTROLLED COMMITTEE."

"This insurance industry campaign to choose the next insurance commissioner is becoming an electoral deception of epic proportions," said Consumer Watchdog Executive Director Douglas Heller. "Most of the information Californians will get about the candidates for insurance commissioner will be delivered in advertisements entirely paid for by the insurance industry and voters won’t even know it." 

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Consumer Watchdog is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that does not support or oppose candidates for election. Since the resignation of former Commissioner Quackenbush, Consumer Watchdog has reported on insurance industry money involved in electing the commissioner using its "Quack-O-Meter" to expose the industry’s level of influence in the race.

Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdog
Providing an effective voice for American consumers in an era when special interests dominate public discourse, government and politics. Non-partisan.

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