My last four posts have been about the record spending by wealthy individuals and corporations in the 2022 elections, its corruption of democracy, and what we can do about it. (See previous posts here and here for some details about the spending and here and here for what we can do about it.) This post focuses on corporations that are giving money to the 147 Republicans in Congress who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election. In particular, it focuses on those corporations that announced a suspension of contributions to those 147 members of Congress after the January 6, 2021, storming of the Capitol, but have now resumed supporting them.

(Note: If you find my posts too much to read on occasion, please just read the bolded portions. They present the key points I’m making.)

For an overall perspective on the huge amounts of money being spent on the election, Open Secrets now projects that spending on the 2022 federal and state elections will set a record and will exceed $16.7 billion. Spending on federal races is projected to be $8.9 billion and has already surpassed the 2018 record for a mid-term election of $7.1 billion (adjusted for inflation). Federal election spending in non-presidential years has increased from almost $5 billion in 2014 to over $7 billion in 2018 (up 48%) and to a projected nearly $9 billion in 2022 (up 25%). (Prior year figures are adjusted for inflation.) [1]

Spending on state elections, including ballot questions, is projected to be $7.8 billion, which would exceed the 2018 record of $6.6 billion. State election spending has increased from $4.6 billion in 2014 to roughly $7.0 billion in 2018 (up 52%) and to a projected $7.8 billion in 2022 (up 11%). (Prior year figures are adjusted for inflation.)

At least 228 of the Fortune 500 largest American companies have made contributions totaling over $13 million to Republicans that voted against accepting the 2020 presidential election results. (Millions of dollars in companies’ contributions to Republican Party committees are NOT included in this figure. Much of the spending of these committees is going to the 147 election-denying members of Congress.)

In the immediate aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection, many of these companies condemned the attack and the violence, and stopped making political contributions to the 147 members of Congress who voted against the peaceful transfer of power. This was good public relations for them. Furthermore, these big companies depend on the stability of the country, its political system, and its economy to successfully operate.

However, at least 228 of these companies have now quietly gone back to giving money to the 147 election results deniers. Note that they resumed giving to these members of Congress before their next election. Therefore, there was NO meaningful impact from their short-lived suspensions of contributions on the re-election fundraising of the election deniers. [2]

Home Depot suspended political contributions after Jan. 6 but a year later resumed making them. It has now made 100 contributions totaling $475,000 to 65 of the 147 election deniers. This makes it the biggest corporate donor for direct contributions to election deniers and represents 12% of Home Depot’s direct donations to candidates. [3]

Boeing stated in Jan. 2021 that it “strongly condemns the violence, lawlessness and destruction” of the Jan. 6 insurrection. It promised to ensure that the politicians it supported would “uphold our country’s most fundamental principles.” However, since then, it has supported 74 of the 147 election deniers with 314 contributions totaling at least $390,000 (which is 14% of its giving).

Other companies that announced a suspension of political giving after Jan. 6 but have now given to election deniers include AT&T ($389,900 in 127 contributions), United Parcel Service ($385,500 in 155 contributions), Lockheed Martin ($366,000 to 90 deniers), Raytheon ($309,000 to 66 deniers), and Northrop Grumman ($175,000 to 26 deniers).

General Dynamics has donated over $324,000 to 67 election deniers despite the fact that a recent investor report stated: “Our employee PAC will not support members of Congress who provoke or incite violence or similar unlawful conduct.” However, it seems clear that denying the validity of the 2020 presidential election has indeed incited a range of violence and unlawful conduct.

After Jan. 6, Amazon announced in a strongly worded statement that it would stop contributing to members of Congress who voted not to certify the election results because their actions represented an “unacceptable attempt to undermine a legitimate democratic process.” Nonetheless, in September 2022, its PAC gave $17,500 to nine of the election deniers. [4]

General Electric (GE) issued a particularly strong statement after Jan. 6 stating its “commitment to democracy” and suspending donations to the 147 election deniers. Nonetheless, GE has now made contributions totaling $12,500 to eleven deniers, saying it is considering “individual exceptions [to its suspension of donations] on a case-by-case basis.” Not coincidentally, all eleven of them sit on congressional committees of importance to GE: defense and energy spending, transportation and infrastructure spending, and taxation. By the way, to give you a sense of the amounts companies are donating to election deniers, this $12,500 dollar amount ranks GE as tied for 145th on the ProPublica list of companies donating to election deniers.

I urge you to boycott or reduce your business with these companies and the others in the ProPublica list. I also urge you to contact them (e.g., their Chief Executive Officer or their corporate communications office) to let them know you disapprove of their support for election deniers and the undermining of democracy that it fosters.

[1]      Giorno, T., & Quist, P., 11/3/22, “Total cost of 2022 state and federal elections projected to exceed $16.7 billion,” Open Secrets (https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2022/11/total-cost-of-2022-state-and-federal-elections-projected-to-exceed-16-7-billion/)

[2]      MacGillis, A., & Hernandez, S., 11/1/22, “What Fortune 500 companies said after Jan. 6 vs. what they did,” ProPublica (https://www.propublica.org/article/companies-funding-election-deniers-after-january-6)

[3]      Hernandez, S., & Lash, N., 11/4/22, “Fortune 500 companies have given millions to election deniers since Jan. 6,” ProPublica (https://projects.propublica.org/fortune-500-company-election-deniers-jan-6/)

[4]      Legum, J., 10/26/22, “Amazon puts January 6 in the rearview mirror: ‘It’s been more than 21 months’,” Popular Information (https://popular.info/p/amazon-puts-january-6-in-the-rearview)


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