May 26, 2016
Shareholders vote down dark money disclosure at Aetna, Anthem
By Bob Herman
Health insurers Aetna and Anthem won't have to tell shareholders how much money they send to tax-exempt political organizations, at least for another year.
Shareholder resolutions that would've required Aetna and Anthem to disclose how much they spend on 501(c)(4) "social welfare" organizations and other business association groups failed to gain approval last week at the companies' respective annual shareholders meetings. Approximately 91% of Anthem investors rejected the proposal, and 75% of the votes were cast against Aetna's resolution.
Political not-for-profit organizations, also called dark money groups, do not have to reveal their donors, and they can receive unlimited amounts of money, much of which is routed toward influencing elections.
Comment by Don McCanne
The shareholders of Aetna and Anthem, by voting down disclosure of dark money contributions, are co-conspirators with the corporate executives in the efforts to prevent transparency of their financial contributions to dark money organizations that use their funds to influence elections.
Once we replace the private insurers with a publicly-owned Medicare for all program, we need show no special sympathy for the displaced insurance executives, and that goes for their rent-seeking shareholders as well. Our sympathies should be directed to the displaced employees of the insurance corporations who will need assistance in job training and in creating new employment opportunities.