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Aetna Inc. Sued Over Proxy Statements on Political Activity

One the country’s largest managed health care companies is being sued for violating the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by including false and misleading information in proxy statements about its political activity.

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), on behalf of Stephen W. Silberstein, a shareholder of Aetna Inc., is bringing the suit against Aetna Inc., Mark T. Bertolini (the company chairman, president and CEO), and members of its Board of Directors, for statements made in proxy statements in 2012 and 2013 that CREW feels fail to comply with Securities and Exchange Commission regulations.

CREW also cited Aetna’s filing for 2011 with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which shows Aetna contributed $3.3 million to the American Action Network (AAN), a 501c4 organization, and $4.48 million to the U.S.Chamber of Commerce. Aetna did not disclose the AAN contribution in its 2011 report, and only reported $4 million being given to the Chamber of Commerce.

CREW’s complaint was announced in a press release by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

Political MoneyLine’s PAC profile of the Aetna Inc. PAC shows it gave out $802,000 to federal candidates and committees in 2011-2012, with 62% going to Republicans.

Executives and employees of Aetna Inc. have also given directly to candidates and committees. In 2011-2012 they gave $4.9 million. Use Political MoneyLine’s Donor Search to look for employees of Aetna Inc.

More than a dozen senior executives of Aetna have also given this year directly to the campaigns of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. Executives giving include Meg McCarthy, senior Vice president; Joseph Zubretzky, chief financial officer; Peter Rubin, head of federal affairs; and William Casazza, general counsel; among others. In June, McConnell’s campaign paid Aetna Inc., at 20 F Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.,  $300 for ‘site rental’.

Aetna Inc. has reported spending $2,690,000 on federal lobbying during the last four quarters.

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