Holding Government Officials Accountable

Tennesseans should be able to count on their government officials to show up to work and advocate for what’s best for our state. When they don’t, we work to hold them accountable.

Newschannel5’s Jennifer Kraus reports on Tennessee’s Commissioner of Commerce and Insurance – the state’s top insurance regulator — and her tendency to be out of the office on industry-funded trips.

Here’s more:

When Tennessee’s Commerce and Insurance Commissioner is not in her office, chances are she’s not even in Tennessee.

Since taking the job in 2011, we found Julie McPeak has spent a considerable amount of time making speeches and attending meetings and conferences, not only around the country, but also traveling around the world, making repeated trips to Europe and Asia along with stops in Africa, South America, and the Caribbean.

The organization wouldn’t tell us how much they’ve spent, but as Tennessee’s Insurance Commissioner, McPeak has taken more than 120 of these trips so the NAIC has likely spent hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“It seems to be a clear conflict of interest,” Andy Spears, Executive Director of the consumer advocacy group, Tennessee Citizen Action, stated.

“No one disputes that NAIC receives most of its funding from the insurance industry and she’s basically got a credit card and travel expenses and all of that paid by the insurance industry,” Spears remarked.

 

Two years ago, she was on the road 117 days. Last year, 120 days, or in other words, four whole months.

“She has a big job and if she’s not present, it’s hard for me to see how she’s actually doing that job. And Tennesseans are paying the price,” Andy Spears opined.

“That’s great that she has this other interest, but we’re not seeing the benefit of that as Tennesseans. And if this is what she’s really interested in, we probably need someone else to be the commissioner,” Tennessee Citizen Action’s Spears suggested.

Our insurance commissioner should be the top advocate for Tennessee consumers — instead, she’s on industry-funded trips and approving the largest health insurance rate hike in the country. Tennesseans need a commissioner of insurance who will fight for them, not work for the industry she is supposed to regulate.

 

For more on transparency in government, follow @TNCitizenAction


 

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