Saturday, November 1, 2008

Visconti blasts life insurance company's support of Larson

Republican 1st District Congressional candidate Joe Visconti issued the following press release this morning blasting The Hartford insurance company's CEO for drumming up support for incumbent Congressman John Larson.

"The Hartford" CEO Leans on Employees to Support Larson

The President and Chief Operating Officer of The Hartford insurance company's life division, is recommending that employees of the insurance firm support Democratic incumbent 1 st Congressman representative John Larson, according to recently obtained internal documents.

However, an email from John Walters, president and chief operating officer of Hartford Life, Inc., praising Larson for supporting the Wall Street 'Bailout,' and urging employees to thank Larson in writing on his website, has drawn a sharp retort publicly and privately from shareholders and employees. Questions also have been raised as to whether Walters coerced employees of The Hartford to donate money to Larson's campaign.

The Hartford Financial Services has donated more than $15,000 to Larson's re-election campaign according to recent financial disclosures while individual employees at The Hartford have donated more than $12,000. The top insurance industry donor to Larson's campaign was AIG which has donated nearly $20,000

In an email to employees, COO John Walters said, "Connecticut First District Congressman John Larson was among the House members who stood tall last week by voting in favor of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.

Congressman Larson backed this legislation from the very beginning. His support never wavered, even after it failed to gain approval the first time it came up for a vote in the House.

I have already thanked Congressman Larson and as a 1st District resident I thought you might like to do the same. If you believe, as I do, that passage of this legislation was absolutely necessary to stabilize the financial markets, please take the time to thank
Congressman Larson. "

Executives at The Hartford privately have criticized Walters' email and say many employees consider it an infringement on their political beliefs.

Republican nominee Joseph Visconti, who is opposing Larson, has privately been approached by executive level employees of The Hartford who have told him they are supporting his candidacy.

In addition, Arthur Mocabee, a shareholder at The Hartford, and Visconti supporter, responded to Walters in a critical letter that stated in part , "While the Hartford Insurance Company lies in shambles due in part to a poorly managed national credit crisis caused largely by the Democrats in Congress, especially the lack of leadership by John Larson, it is extremely improper to use corporate email to solicit political persuasion for anyone, let alone John Larson.

"You as President and COO have probably violated your own corporate email policy.
The 1st District is in the middle of a severe economic crisis that threatens jobs at The Hartford as well as many other major employers in the district. … To single out a single politician smacks of favoritism and insensitivity to others who may feel differently, but have no choice in receiving your solicitation. …

"You have used The Hartford as a 'Big Brother' in suggesting that employees should "thank" John Larson."

Mocabee also noted that individual employees at The Hartford "Contributed financially to Mr. Larson. Your actions raise the question if they did so under your request or of their own free will."

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Anonymous life insurance brokers Toronto said...

Interesting, but not surprising. If you were CEO of some huge financial institution, I think you would put pressure on the government to "help" you during the crisis. It's natural. And I think it has even some moral base - insurance companies are under strong government's regulation, it makes the government somehow responsible too, so why not to ask for "cooperation" when something goes wrong?
Take care

November 7, 2008 at 3:38 PM 

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