by Thomas Catenacci
Corporations were silent on why they chose to suspend political contributions to Republicans, but not Democrats who have objected to election results.
More than 15 major U.S. companies that announced they would suspend giving money to members of Congress following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot didn’t respond to requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation about their political contribution activity following the 2016 presidential election. The corporations were quick to condemn Republicans lawmakers who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election earlier this year, but apparently didn’t criticize or punish Democrats who have similarly objected to election results in the past.
“These corporations are doing something very new, and something that could potentially alienate an important base for them,” Craig Holman, a lobbyist at Public Citizen, told The Washington Post in January. “I’ve never heard of this happening before.”
On Jan. 6, nearly 150 Republican lawmakers — eight senators and 139 representatives — objected to the 2020 presidential election results of at least one state, The New York Times reported. Pennsylvania and Arizona received the most amount of GOP objections while four other states received one objection apiece.
Meanwhile, during the vote, throngs of former President Donald Trump’s supporters breached the Capitol building in protest of the election results. The crowd stormed the building after attending Trump’s speech at a nearby rally in which he claimed the election had been rigged and rife with fraud.
In the days following the riot and the failed Republican effort to overturn the election, around 280 corporations announced they would either conduct a review their political donation activity or no longer support those who had voted to decertify, according to a CNN database.
“Last week’s attempts by some congressional members to subvert the presidential election results and disrupt the peaceful transition of power do not align with our … values; therefore, the [American Express political action committee] will not support them,” American Express CEO Stephen Squeri said in a statement.
An Amazon spokesperson said the company would discuss its policy with the members of Congress who objected, CNBC reported. Hallmark Cards even asked GOP Sens. Josh Hawley and Roger Marshall, who both voted in favor of certifying, to return the contributions it had given them.
“Following last week’s awful violence in DC, we are pausing all of our PAC contributions for at least the current quarter, while we review our policies,” Facebook spokesperson Daniel Roberts said, according to CNN.
But Democratic Reps. Jim McGovern, Jamie Raskin, Maxine Waters, Pramila Jayapal, Raul Grijalva, Sheila Jackson Lee and Barbara Lee voted to decertify the 2016 election results on Jan. 6, 2017 for several reasons including alleged Russian collusion, Politico reported at the time. Although far fewer Democrats voted to decertify than Republicans following the respective elections, the Democrats objected to the results of more states.
“The electors were not lawfully certified, especially given the confirmed and illegal activities engaged by the government of Russia,” McGovern, the House Rules Committee chair, said after objecting to Alabama’s results in 2017, CNN reported.
Corporations like American Express, Amazon, Hallmark, and Facebook apparently continued making contributions to the seven Democrats and didn’t pause political activity.
For example, Jackson Lee received money from AT&T and McGovern received money from Walmart in both 2016 and 2018, according to OpenSecrets and Federal Election Commission (FEC) records. Google gave money to Waters and Raskin in 2016, 2018 and 2020, FEC data showed.
AT&T, Walmart and Google were among the hundreds of companies to announce policy changes following the Jan. 6 riot.
None of 16 corporations that the DCNF reached out to responded to requests for comment about why the Democrats’ 2016 objections differed from the Republicans’ 2020 objections.
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Thomas Catenacci is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “American Express Building” by Alex Liivet (CC BY 2.0).