Ben Carson’s Largest Contributor? Northwestern Mutual Life!

I originally saw this as part of a flip chart meme on Facebook over the weekend and figured it was a mistake…but I did a search this evening and it isn’t. Although Northwestern Mutual doesn’t top the displayed chart it is actually Ben Carson’s biggest contributor if you add the two contributions together: $48,000 for Northwestern Mutual and $11,000 for Northwestern Mutual Life. Makes you think…how can the quiet people be so hush hush while backing one of the least competent contenders for the Republican Presidential Nomination. Ben Carson? Who is making the decisions down at the east end of Wisconsin Avenue? And why do they think Carson is a viable candidate?

Well that’s only half of it…the other half is: why is a mutual insurance company allowed to spend money on political campaigns? I understand that Citizens United allows all kinds of free speech dollar spreading but it seems that a mutual insurance company is a different animal than say IBM or GM or Walmart. It is supposedly owned by the policy holders…not investors or stock holders…and the profits are returned to the policy holders via reductions in premiums and such.

And it’s not like a mutual insurance company policy holder has a lot of options. A stock holder in a corporation can sell their stock if they don’t like the direction or action of a company. A customer of a company can decide to not do business with a company that doesn’t meet their expectations. But a policy holder is kinda stuck. Life insurance premiums are determined by the age of the policy holder at the time the policy is initiated…so if you get pissed off at NML and cancel a policy of theirs it will cost you more and maybe a lot more depending on your current age. And it’s a real hassle to move retirement vehicles no matter what they are. So allowing mutual insurance companies to spend money (the policy holders actual money in two senses) on political campaigns smacks of unethical behavior in the extreme.

This is one corporate type that I would disallow campaign contributions…so I guess this would be an addition to my campaign finance reform package!

full disclosure: I have several life insurance policies with NML and a retirement investment. At this point I really have to see if I can stand the financial hit to make a political stand.

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3 thoughts on “Ben Carson’s Largest Contributor? Northwestern Mutual Life!

  1. Good catch. Milwaukee has the absolute worst corporate culture in America. Regressive, greedy, and filled with mediocrity that refuses to innovate. Johnson Controls’ taking of WEDC money, then laying off and selling out is another good example.

    These are the MMAC types who bankrolled Scott Walker and many of the leaders of this GOP majority. You wonder why the Milwaukee area and the state struggles with those guys (and I do mean GUYS) calling the shots?

  2. Individual employees at all levels of employment at NML may be contributors to any candidate, and they generally are required to list their employment when making contributions– so the “total” may not be just PAC’s or corporate money but some individual contributions,

    The Republicans in Wisconsin proposed elimination of the requirement to list”employment” on political contribution reporting.

    A great source for all Wisconsin political contributions is http://www.wisdc.org/

    For Federal– http://www.opensecrets.org/index.php

  3. Parroting what Edward said above, you are required to disclose your employer when making a campaign contribution and the website says they use those amounts in the total. So it may well be that there are several employees at NML making up these amounts which really wouldn’t have anything to do with the company.

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