Taylor calls on Edwards to reconsider; provide news media with the public records
WACO - Yesterday, 16-year incumbent democrat Congressman Chet Edwards told the Cleburne Times-Review he would not release official schedule, telephone and email records surrounding the time period during which he took a $2,000 campaign contribution from American Amicable Life Insurance Company President Lanny Peavy just 10 days prior to a meeting Edward's convened in his Washington congressional office between Peavy and Army officials. In turn, Iraq War combat veteran Van Taylor called on Edwards to reconsider his refusal to provide the news media with these public documents in an effort to answer lingering questions about the lengths to which he went to help American Amicable avoid being banned from Army bases around the world.
At the time of the campaign contribution and meeting in question, American Amicable - which recently agreed to a $70 million settlement with American soldiers over "a deceptive sales program" - had already been banned from selling insurance on Army bases in Europe for two years and was on the verge of being "banned from selling insurance on every Army base in the world." During the meeting Edwards arranged, and attended, with two Army officials, including then-Army Adjutant General, Major General Kathryn Frost (spouse of Congressman Martin Frost) (D-TX), Peavy was told of the Army's decision against the worldwide banning of American Amicable.
Despite American Amicable's promise that it wouldn't happened again, it's agents subsequently engaged in similar behavior and were barred from Fort Benning, Georgia two years later, the company had to refund Marines at Camp Pendleton, California in 2003, and most recently became embroiled in legal proceedings which involved more than 40 state insurance agencies, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities Exchange Commission, which resulted in the recently announced $70 million settlement with soldiers.
"It is unacceptable for Chet Edwards to thumb his nose at Texans who have serious and legitimate questions about what he did to help American Amicable escape being banned from Army bases around the world for deceptive sales practices to our soldiers," Taylor said. "Texans deserve to know when did American Amicable first contact Chet Edwards? Did Chet agree to help Amicable before, or after, he took a $2,000 campaign contribution from Amicable's president Lanny Peavy? And, what specifically did Congressman Edwards do to help Amicable avoid the world wide ban from Army bases.
"Regrettably, Congressman Edwards' record of saying one thing here at home, and doing something else in Washington D.C. requires him to document his answers to these questions with schedule, phone and email records, which belong to the taxpayers, so that Texans - who pay his salary - will know whether or not he's telling the truth."
The Edwards/American Amicable Timeline: Truth & Consequences
* Yesterday, Edwards told the Cleburne Times-Review, "I'm not going to spend hours and hours trying to find 6-year-old records." (Cleburne Times-Review, 8/30/06)
* The Waco Tribune Herald recently reported that Waco-based American Amicable Life Insurance Company "has reached a settlement valued at $70 million for allegedly targeting military men and women with a deceptive sales program." (Waco Tribune Herald, 8/4/06)
* Ironically, it was Congressman Chet Edwards who interceded on American Amicable's behalf when the insurance giant, which was already serving a two-year ban from Army bases in Europe, was in danger of being banned from selling insurance on every Army base in the world in 2000. (The New York Times, 7/21/04)
* The New York Times reported that at the request of American Amicable's president Lanny Peavy, Chet Edwards set up, and attended, a meeting in his Washington congressional office between Peavy and two Army officials, one of whom was then-Army Adjutant General, Major General Kathryn Frost, the spouse of Congressman Martin Frost (D-TX). (The New York Times, 7/21/04)
* During the meeting in Edward's office, Peavy apologized for his agents' violation of the Army's "rules against improper and misleading sales practices, promised "remedial action" and was told of the Army's decision against the worldwide ban. (The New York Times, 7/21/04)
* The Times didn't specify as to what day Peavy first called Edwards, or on what day the two men first spoke about the situation, or as to what day Edward's agreed to set up the meeting. However, the newspaper did report that Peavy - who had never before made a campaign contribution to Edwards in his first ten years in office - made two, $1,000 contributions to Edwards' re-election campaign on March 13, 2000, which was just ten days before the March 23 meeting which Edwards arranged, and attended. (The New York Times, 7/21/04)
* Two years after Edwards helped American Amicable get the meeting with Army officials where they announced their decision against the worldwide ban, "agents for American Amicable were barred from Fort Benning Georgia, after they used an improper sales pitch to induce recruits to buy insurance." (The New York Times, 7/21/04)
* Three years after Edwards interceded on American Amicable's behalf, "agents for an affiliated company were found to have misled hundreds of marines in a similar way at Camp Penleton, Calif. The company offered refunds." (The New York Times, 7/21/04)
* And now six years after Edward's intervened on American Amicable's behalf, American soldiers spent at least $10 million on American Ammicable's "Horizon's Life" policy, the repayment of which is part of the $70 million settlement recently reached. (Waco Tribune Herald, 8/4/06)