Jackson National Life Asks Mich. Candidate for Apology

A Michigan company has asked U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow to retract her statements that it outsourced jobs overseas.

Jackson National Life Insurance Co. sent a letter to Stabenow last week asking her to apologize for a campaign TV commercial and her public comments related to the company. Stabenow, a Democrat up for re-election Nov. 7, has said the company outsourced jobs to India and China.

Jackson National says that is not true. But the Stabenow campaign stood by its statements Saturday.

“We’ve been clear through this whole process,” Stabenow campaign spokesman Brent Colburn said. “We stand by our ad.”

Stabenow’s Republican opponent, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, has received up to $60,000 a year for his work with Jackson as an independent variable fund board member. Stabenow says Bouchard supports Bush administration policies she says have led to the outsourcing of Michigan jobs.

“I am writing you to set the record straight, and to formally request that you publicly retract your claim that Jackson National Life Insurance Company has outsourced jobs to China, India or to any other foreign country,” company President Clark Manning Jr. wrote to Stabenow. “Also, I believe our associates are owed an apology for falsely denigrating the excellent organization they have worked to create.”

The Stabenow campaign has said the outsourcing comment refers to a 2001 software contract between Jackson National and a contractor that has done some of its own work overseas. Jackson National says it performs most of its information technology work itself.

The company’s letter to Stabenow said its relationship with the contractor helped Jackson National create 90 new Michigan jobs. The company has about 1,300 workers in Lansing, about 300 more than in 2000.

Colburn said the issue isn’t the company, but rather Bouchard’s position on outsourcing.

Bouchard has said Stabenow’s statements about Jackson are “unbelievably untrue.”