Newsletter July 2012

The Monthly Newsletter of CREW  //  July 2012  //  Issue No. 62


SPOTLIGHT: Aetna's Accident


Did you know your insurance premiums are being used to influence your vote?  Aetna wishes you didn't. 

CREW discovered that the insurance giant mistakenly disclosed contributions of more than $7 million to the American Action Network and the Chamber of Commerce in a trade association filing.  Aetna quickly moved to amend its filing, but it was too late; we obtained copies of the revealing document.

Aetna CEO Mark T. Bertolini defended his company's actions, claiming the contributions were for "educational activities," but we're not buying it. 

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 would be naïve to think other companies aren't doing the same.



No Strings Attached

No Stringsspacer

On the way out the door, many retiring members of Congress have no qualms about using leftover campaign funds to ease their paths into lucrative lobbying careers. 

In No Strings Attached, we highlight members-turned-lobbyists who spend their excess campaign funds on political contributions that often benefit themselves, their families, and their staff years after they've left office.  

As departing members clean out their desks, perhaps they also should be compelled to clean out their campaign coffers.



It's Time to Investigate the American Action Network

American Action Networkspacer

Shadowy political non-profits need to learn that their special tax status doesn't place them above the law. 

The American Action Network, chaired by former Republican Senator Norm Coleman, unrepentantly violated both tax and campaign finance laws during the 2010 election cycle, while spending millions of dollars to influence Americans' votes through deceitful attack ads. 

We've called on the IRS and the Federal Election Commission to investigate.



Pay-to-Play in the Motor City

Ambassador Bridgespacer

Leaving international transit and trade in the grip of one man and his political network is not the way to get Detroit motoring again. 

In Troubled Crossing, we detail how billionaire Manuel "Matty" Moroun mounted an expensive influence campaign to try and prevent the construction of a new, publicly owned bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Canada.

Moroun owns the Ambassador Bridge, currently the only bridge between the two cities.  In an attempt to maintain his monopoly, he ramped up campaign contributions and lobbying efforts, even funding the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity, which distributed fake eviction notices to scare neighborhood residents into opposing the bridge.  Luckily, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder wasn't in Moroun's pocket and the public bridge is moving forward.



CREW to Chairman Issa: Drop Contempt Recommendation Against the Attorney General

Eric Holderspacer

We have long opposed the use of executive privilege to block congressional and public access to information about the internal workings of the government, but House Republicans' shenanigans regarding Fast and Furious have gone too far. 

CREW called on Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, to withdraw his recommendation that Attorney General Eric Holder be found in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over additional, unrelated documents that won't shed any light on how the operation went wrong. 

Despite any evidence, Chairman Issa conspiratorially claims Fast and Furious was actually part of an intricate plan by the Obama administration to strengthen gun control laws.  The NRA even scored the House vote on whether to hold the attorney general in contempt. 

This is nothing more than election-year theatrics, but, ridiculously, the measure passed the House. 



UPDATE - Kentucky's Prince of Pork

Prince of Pork

We've followed up our latest exposé of Kentucky Rep. Hal Rogers by calling on the U.S. Army and the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate the millions in earmarks steered to a company owned by contributors to his campaign.  Stay tuned. 


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