Investigation Shows 19.7M Finance and Insurance Workers Influenced by Employer's Allegiance to Right Leaning PAC

Ahead of this year’s election, a confidential slideshow from the Business-Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC) was unearthed by In These Times writer Spencer Woodman. Its contents show the deep-rooted influence the organization has in many business sectors over a staggering number of workers.

Often, the information about politicians and policies is being unknowingly spoon fed to employees. The allegedly non-partisan group promotes the principles of free enterprise, but mostly endorses Republican candidates and policies.  

Woodman revealed that nearly 19.7 million finance and insurance workers are being subjected to deceptive political lobbying by their bosses through the BIPAC framework. As of May, 9 2013, a total of 24,464,959 individuals were under the BIPAC umbrella. 

Woodman explains the unscrupulous nature of these influential efforts:

Often BIPAC builds sites for companies that bear little or no indication of involvement by an outside political group (for example, ConocoPhillips’s and Cintas’s political engagement websites). Many come complete with “action alerts” that encourage employees to write letters to members of Congress on issues related to their industry.

In a statement for an Investigative Fund-supported Slate article I wrote about BIPAC last month, Greg Casey, BIPAC’s chief executive officer, said that in the 2012 election cycle alone, BIPAC generated nearly 2 million letters from employees to policymakers. The slideshow reveals that the largest two categories these letters concerned were “regulation” and “healthcare.”

These subjects square with the top two employment sectors in BIPAC’s network—finance and insurance—given that insurance companies exerted tremendous political influence over the shape and implementation of President Obama’s healthcare reform bill, while Wall Street has fiercely opposed regulations meant to protect everyday consumers and ensure the stability of the U.S. economy.

In the video below, BIPAC’s VP of Advocacy, Melissa Craig, explains to the Pennsylvania Business Council that the “complex world of politics” is too much for workers and says “political education from their bosses” is a benefit:

“Educate them on what is affecting their day-to-day jobs and lives because they don’t understand it,” Craig said. “Often we’ll think that they do. But they’ll just hear, you know, all of the chatter going on there about social issues, and they don’t understand it.”

Apparently “free enterprise” doesn’t have room for “free will.” Read Woodman’s piece in its entirety via In These Times.

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Steve Cooper
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