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False Populism, Real Profits for Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)


The third step in Robert Creamer’s ten-step plan for imposing universal health care on America, according to his prison memoir, is to attack the private insurance industry: “Our messaging program over the next two years should focus heavily on reducing the credibility of the health insurance industry and focusing on the failure of private health insurance.”

Accordingly, Creamer’s spouse, Rep. Jan Schakowsky–whose campaigns Creamer has assisted through his Strategic Consulting Group–declared at a rally for health care reform in April 2009 that she would “put the private insurance industry out of business.”

Yet while Rep. Schakowsky likes to attack health insurance profits, those profits have found a way into her own pocket. Her 2008 financial disclosure statement to the U.S. House of Representatives reveals that she owns several mutual funds that, in turn, own stock in major health insurance companies and provide her with dividend income.

Through her mutual funds, Schakowsky has a stake in UnitedHealth, the biggest health insurance company in America. She also profits indirectly from Aetna, the third-largest U.S. health insurer, as well as online insurance retailer eHealth. Rep. Schakowsky even owns mutual funds that hold shares in foreign insurance companies, such as China Life Insurance and Ping An Insurance Group of China, as well as the Islamic Arab Insurance Co., which specializes in Shari’ah compliant funds.

In addition, Rep. Schakowsky’s mutual funds own shares in other companies and industries that she has singled out in the past, according to the most recent information available. For example, though Rep. Schakowsky has frequently blasted oil companies for their “record profits,” her mutual funds are heavily invested in Big Oil through funds that hold stakes in Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, and others. Rep. Schakowsky has also slammed the U.S. pharmaceutical industry for being “the most profitable in the world,” yet she has invested in pharmaceutical giants such as Eli Lilly and Merck through several of her mutual funds.

A few of Rep. Schakowsky’s mutual funds also own stock in Halliburton, of which Rep. Schakowsky has complained that it “received billions in contracts” in Iraq and that its “stock prices spiked after Bush’s re-election.” In 2005, Rep. Schakowsky voted for a congressional resolution that declared that the China National Offshore Oil Corporation’s attempt to buy U.S.-based Unocal could “impair the national security of the United States.” Nevertheless, she indirectly owns a stake in CNOOC and other, similar foreign state-owned companies.

And while Rep. Schakowsky recently boasted that she was “able to unload on two top executives of Goldman Sachs,” one of her mutual funds owns shares in Goldman Sachs. (She also voted for both the TARP bailout and the stimulus that guaranteed bonuses for Wall Street executives.)

No one should deny Ms. Schakowsky the opportunity to build wealth. What Americans must object to is the false populism of a politician who rails against private health insurance and other industries while profiting from them.

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