Pennsylvania House Insurance Committee chairwoman reaps big harvest of campaign contributions from insurance industry

The Morning Call
Friday, October 9, 2020

State Rep. Tina Pickett, whose position in Harrisburg gives her enormous say-so over what happens to proposed insurance laws, has more cash in her political campaign account than any of her 201 colleagues in the House ― thanks in large part to the insurance industry.

A review by The Morning Call of hundreds of campaign finance reports showed Pickett’s $268,546.49 cash balance in late May was inflated by a years-long influx of insurance industry cash that began when Pickett became chairwoman of the House Insurance Committee in 2013.

“The representative’s numbers are staggering,” said Douglas Heller, an insurance industry expert with the Consumer Federation of America, an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that carries out research and advocacy.…

Joanne Doroshow, co-founder of the Americans for Insurance Reform coalition that among other things seeks reforms to control skyrocketing insurance rates, said scrutiny of campaign contributions is particularly important now.

Insurance industry money, Doroshow said, might be a key to survival for thousands of small businesses unable to operate normally during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It doesn’t seem someone who has taken such a lot of money, in power like that, is going to help businesses,” Doroshow, who also is executive director of the Center for Justice & Democracy at New York Law School, said after learning of industry contributions to Pickett. “And that is going to be very devastating to the economy of the state.”…

Doroshow said the dynamic of big insurance industry checks going to political campaigns of industry-influencing politicians isn’t unique to Pennsylvania.

In general, she said, the industry is “poorly regulated” at the state level, with California being the only state with strong regulations.

“They are allowed to get away with this because there is little accountability,” Doroshow said. “The insurance industry pretty much gets away with anything it wants.”

Click here for the full article.

Join Our Fight!

The Center for Justice & Democracy is the only national consumer organization in the country exclusively dedicated to protecting our civil justice system. If you'd like more information, please contact us.

Connect with us