Tag Archives: Villines

Insurers Add Another $1 Million to Stealth Campaign to Elect Villines Insurance Commissioner

Allstate, Mercury Top $ 1 Million Each in Past Month; Both Have Big Issues Before Department of Insurance

Campaign for Consumer Rights News

October 25, 2010

Contact: Doug Heller 310-392-0522 ext. 309

Santa Monica, CA – In less than a month, ten insurance companies have spent $3.8 million in an unprecedented campaign to pick their next regulator. Even the disgraced Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush didn’t see this much insurance money flow this quickly into his campaigns, according to the nonpartisan Campaign for Consumer Rights.  

Voters viewing the advertisements paid for by the insurance industry don’t know their source, however, because the insurance industry money is being laundered through a Chamber of Commerce committee called JobsPAC. The campaign ads attacking candidate Dave Jones and endorsing his rival Mike Villines do not list the insurance companies’ funding.  The contributions to the campaign, which began on September 27th, have averaged about $1,000,000 per week and have been followed by media buys against Jones and for Villines of approximately the same amount.

The total industry donations to date are:

Allstate Insurance   $1,150,000

George Joseph – Mercury Insurance $1,000,000

Liberty Mutual   $640,000

Progressive Insurance   $390,000

Farmers $225,000

Anthem Blue Cross  $150,000

HealthNet   $100,000

P/C Insurers Association of America $74,000

American Insurance Association   $52,000

Personal Insurance Fed. of California $25,000

“Californians will not see these insurance companies listed on all the ads about the insurance commissioner race, but they need to know that the insurance companies are desperately trying to buy the office so they can own their regulator,” said Harvey Rosenfield, the author of the 1988 insurance reform measure Proposition 103 and Chairman of the Campaign for Consumer Rights.

Last week the Campaign For Consumer Rights launched a radio advertisement to inform voters insurance companies are paying for the advertising.  Listen to the advertisement at http://www.stoptheinsurers.org

Top Funders Have Company-Specific Issues Before Department of Insurance

The top funder to the insurance industry’s campaign to elect Villines, Allstate Insurance, is currently locked in a battle at the Department of Insurance over whether its so-called “Your Choice Auto” program is legal or an overpriced marketing scheme that is unfairly discriminatory.  The company of the second biggest donor to the campaign for Villines, Mercury Insurance Chairman George Joseph, is the subject of two Department of Insurance enforcement actions relating to illegal and discriminatory practices and has a pending rate hike proposal before the Department.  For both companies, it is generally expected that final decisions in these matters will not be made until the next Commissioner takes office.

“These insurance companies are spending millions to influence this commissioner’s race, because the winner will be judge and jury to cases worth tens of millions to the companies,” said Doug Heller with Campaign for Consumer Rights. “This is a textbook case of conflict of interest.”


Campaign for Consumer Rights is the advocacy and campaign affiliate of the nonprofit organization Consumer Watchdog and is online at http://www.CampaignForConsumer…


(cross-posted from Ruck Pad

We live in a highly partisan political era and the person most responsible for that is President Bush.  He has set the tone with his divisive language.  The Republican Congress, when it was in the majority, reinforced it with their dismissive treatment of the minority party.  Some politicians are attempting to transcend the partisanship like Obama and now Schwarzenegger with his inaugural speech.

That speech, with the now infamous phrase phrase “post-partisanship” was written by a former Reagan speechwriter, Landon Parvin.  I would have expected a Democrat to have penned that speech, for the Republicans in California have the most to lose from a governor of their own party dropping his party affiliation.  It automatically ensures a move to the left.  The Republicans have so carefully crafted their governing philosophy that removing that label means he has disavowed those principles.  Needless to say, the Republicans are not happy.  Here is Fleischman:

When I reflect on the speech, I think I was insulted by it. And let me quickly add that it may not have been the Governor’s intention, but his speech was basically dismissive of conservatives. I came away thinking that the Governor doesn’t feel that it is a valid point of view to feel that state government is too expansive, taxes too much, and regulates too much.

I was quite unnerved by the Governor’s comment that we are entering a “Post-Partisan Era” (as referred to by my cabbie) – as that kind of simplistic theme seems to discount that, frankly, both of the major political parties are founded around some basic core beliefs about how government should work.

Arnold Schwarzenegger cannot single-handedly move this country into a “post-partisan era”.  While the Democrats will be thrilled to have a governor who does not stick to a limited government philosophy, the Republicans will not go quietly into the night.  For that would make them irrelevant and they will fight tooth and nail for their own existence.

You can see this play out in Jason Kinney’s post.  He contends that the first battle will take place over health care for all children.  Assembly Minority Leader Mike Villines is drawing a line in the sand.  Arnold and the Democrats will be on one side, along with most of the voting public and the Republican activists and legislators on the other.  In order to enter into a post-partisan era, Arnold will have to win this first battle and many others.