Pension Funds Query Political Giving

Investors ask Aetna and other companies to disclose contributions to independent political organizations.

Aetna Inc. and 19 other companies are being urged to disclose their contributions to independent political organizations by investors including unions and state pension funds with $922 billion in assets.

The New York State Common Retirement Fund and the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust are among 25 investors who demanded to know how Aetna, the third-biggest U.S. health insurer, is wielding its political influence and giving money to advocacy groups such as the American Action Network, an organization opposed to President Barack Obama’s policies.

$7 Million

Aetna gave at least $7 million to such groups in 2011, according to filings with insurance regulators that Aetna later modified to omit, according to the group of shareholders. In 2011, it gave $3 million to the American Action Network, and $4 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In 2009, America’s Health Insurance plans, the Washington trade group, secretly gave $86 million to the Chamber, Bloomberg reported.

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