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Almost a year after the Capitol insurrection, corporations have quietly ramped up donations to GOP election objectors

December 14, 2021, 7:12 PM UTC

Nearly one year ago, a mob attacked the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop lawmakers from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election. Their actions were provoked by then-President Donald Trump and other Republican supporters who denied the election’s legitimacy. Five people died during or directly following the riot, and and hundreds were injured. 

As a consequence, a number of major companies and associated trade groups announced that they would halt political donations to the congressmen and senators who objected to Biden’s election win, or said they would stop giving money to political candidates altogether. 

In January, donations to these objectors from Fortune 500 companies and related trade groups was nearly $0, and in February it rose only slightly to $28,000 in total, according to a tracker created by nonpartisan watchdog group Accountable.us, a watchdog group.

But companies have quietly begun to ramp up their donations to election objectors once again, according to a new analysis by Accountable.us. Fortune 500 companies and industry groups donated more than $725,000 to members of Congress who opposed 2020 election results in October alone, bringing the 2021 total to more than $6.8 million. 

The top donors to election objectors since January 2021 were: CULAC, the political action committee (PAC) of Credit Union National Association which gave $176,500, The American Bankers Association PAC (BANKPAC) which gave $164,500, General Dynamics which gave $161,500, the National Automobile Dealers Association Political Action Committee which gave $160,000, and Raytheon Technologies, which gave $159,500, according to Accountable.us.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy received the most donations from these groups of any lawmaker who voted against certifying the election results, receiving $261,000 this year. He publicly opposes Congress’s ongoing investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection. Steve Scalise (R-La.) was second with $206,500, Sam Graves (R-Mo.) came in third with 193,252, Glenn Thompson (R-PA) was next with $172,900, and Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) came in fifth with $163,000.

McCarthy eventually said he did not oppose Biden’s presidency in October of 2021, but he did seed doubts. In an official statement after the insurrection he wrote: “Since Election Day, millions of Americans have shared concerns about the integrity of our nation’s electoral process. Congress has the responsibility to listen to these concerns to help heal our nation, investigate, and work with states to make necessary reforms to our electoral process, particularly when its integrity comes into question.”

Prior to the Jan. 6 insurgency this year, about 280 Fortune 500 companies had supported Republican Congress members who objected to the election results that verified President Joe Biden’s presidential win. At least 124 of those companies suspended donations as a direct result of the riots, according to a CNN survey

“We will not support candidates who do not support the law,” Citi head of global government affairs Candi Wolff told staff in an internal memo after the riots, according to media reports. Citi suspended all donations to their political action committee. JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank by assets, and Goldman Sachs also suspended PAC donations to all candidates.

AT&T, which donated $764,000 to candidates during the 2019-2020 election cycle who objected to election results, announced it would suspend donations to those who did not agree that Biden was fairly elected president. The decision was made by employees who were on the company’s PAC board.

While it’s illegal for companies to donate directly to political candidates, they can create funds known as PACs, to pool voluntary employee donations of up to $5,000 per candidate each election cycle. Corporations pay for some of the operating costs of these funds. Trade groups and lobbyists who support industries also often make large contributions to political efforts through PACs. 

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