November 1, 2008

GOP lashes The Hartford for political email backing Democratic congressman

Press release today from Republican congressional hopeful Joe Visconti:

"The Hartford" CEO Leans on Employees to Support Larson Stockholder Reaction Sharp and Critical
 
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 1st 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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Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Hartford Insurance Co. has been demonstrating a pattern of propagating overt liberalism for years. The organization is quite disgusting in my opinion. It's refreshing to see a politician critical of such things.

The solution is McCain said...

Larson and the Dumb-o-crat controlled Congress is baling out their Wall Street buddies.

Time for a change. Vote Republican.

Anonymous said...

I usually disagree with Republicans and think Mocabee is a joke, but they are absolutely correct on this issue. Very bad call by the Hartford Insurance Co. and their President. This is an example of the worst of politics and corporate culture.

Anonymous said...

While this one incident is not the end all, it is too bad that the Republicans cannot, did not, come up with a more viable candidate.

Anonymous said...

I wish the Democrats would come up with more viable candidates, from Larson on up to Obama.

Anonymous said...

Larson was viable when he first ran: he had significant experience, and the democrats stick by each other.
The Republicans tend to eat their young.

I agree on Obama, hope many others do also.

But. Larson is a good example of falling into line to stay in office.

Anonymous said...

I love it, "wannabee moccabee" is starting his crusade to screw up state politics like he did local politics - supports a loser like Visconti and then tries to blow off the blame for Visconti's upcoming loss by blaming someone/thing else, like the Hartford, beforehand.
You can move it, you can cover it up but in the end - incompetence can't hide.

Anonymous said...

I love how these comments move so quickly from the issue at hand to an attack dog mentality and disparaging comments on individuals rather than staying on the column subject.

The issue is: did one of The Hartford's top executives pressure employees to jump on Larson's bandwagon, and did he directly or by inference, pressure employees to donate to Larson? If so, is it legal or ethical?

I don't care what you think of Larson or Visconti, but I do care what is going on at The Hartford, especially after yesterday's news about stocks falling and buyouts.

Just once it would be refreshing to see these commentaries stay on message.

Anonymous said...

Hopefull that was the last of Mocabee and crew.

Anonymous said...

Should be Mocabees swan song.

Anonymous said...

The Bristol Republican malaise has now spread to Hartford.