20 corporations, $16 million, and 138 Republicans trying to subvert democracy
On Wednesday, dozens of Congressional Republicans will object to the certification of the Electoral College vote that made Joe Biden the next President of the United States. Their goal is to set aside millions of votes, ignore the clear will of the electorate, and install Trump for a second term.
The votes have been counted, recounted, and certified. The Electoral College met on December 14 and confirmed that Joe Biden was the winner. And it wasn't particularly close. Biden won 306 Electoral College delegates and received over 7 million more votes than Trump.
Apparently, that isn't enough. A group led by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) claimed that "the allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes." Although there have been many allegations of voter fraud and other irregularities, there has been no proof. Trump and his allies filed dozens of suits based on these allegations seeking to overturn the results of the election and lost.
The effort to overturn the results of the election has been widely derided as dangerous, anti-democratic, and unconstitutional. Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) wrote a 21-page memo to her colleagues explaining why there was "no appropriate basis" to object to the certification of the election. An excerpt:
Such objections set an exceptionally dangerous precedent, threatening to steal states’ explicit constitutional responsibility for choosing the President and bestowing it instead on Congress. This is directly at odds with the Constitution’s clear text and our core beliefs as Republicans.
Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) said the scheme "would essentially end presidential elections and place that power in the hands of whichever party controls Congress." The right-wing Wall Street Journal editorial board called it an "unconstitutional" effort to disenfranchise "81 million Americans who voted for Mr. Biden."
The business community has also expressed its opposition. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents most large businesses in the United States, said this effort "undermines our democracy and the rule of law." A separate group of prominent business leaders calls it "counter to the essential tenets of our democracy."
But many of the members who are planning to object to the certification of the vote on Wednesday are generously supported by corporate America. A Popular Information analysis reveals, over the last six years, 20 prominent corporations — including AT&T, Comcast, Deloitte, Amazon, Microsoft, and Pfizer — have donated at least $16 million to the Republican lawmakers seeking to undermine the democratic process.
To undertake this analysis, Popular Information looked at corporate PAC donations to the 13 Senators who have publicly committed to objecting to certified election results. For the House, the group of Republicans who will object is more in flux. But 126 Republican members of the House supported a lawsuit by the State of Texas that asked the Supreme Court to invalidate the certified election results in four states. So there are 138 Republican House members who have already made clear they support disenfranchising millions of voters. (Roger Marshall (R-KS) was a House member who signed onto the lawsuit but is now a Senator.) The final number may be higher.
Popular Information reached out to all 20 corporations and asked if they planned to continue financially supporting members of Congress who participated in this effort.
AT&T: $2,053,000 to 130 Republicans who are trying to subvert democracy
The largest corporate contributor to the Republicans that are seeking to ignore millions of voters and install Trump for a second term is AT&T. A Popular Information analysis found that, over the last six years, AT&T's corporate PAC has donated at least $2,053,000 to 130 Republicans who are seeking to throw out certified results from states that supported Biden.
AT&T has donated to 11 of the 13 Senators who have pledged to object to the certification of the election results. Over the last six years, the company has donated $136,500 to those 11 Senators.
AT&T has also donated to many of the members leading the effort in the House of Representatives. Congressman Mo Brooks (R-AL), for example, is recruiting Senators to enable the group to object to as many states as possible.
AT&T has donated $6000 to Brooks.
Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH), a close ally of Trump and a vocal advocate for ignoring certified vote totals in states that supported Biden, has received $12,000 from AT&T over the same time period.
Popular Information asked AT&T if it would continue financially supporting members of Congress who are voting to set aside millions of votes. In response, the company noted that it is a member of the Business Roundtable, which issued this statement on January 4:
With claims of electoral fraud having been fully considered and rejected by federal and state courts and state government officials, the integrity of the 2020 presidential election is not in doubt. There is no authority for Congress to reject or overturn electoral votes lawfully certified by the states and affirmed by the Electoral College. The peaceful transition of power is a hallmark of our democracy and should proceed unimpeded. Therefore, Business Roundtable opposes efforts to delay or overturn the clear outcome of the election.
AT&T said it supported this statement and a similar one released by the Chamber of Commerce. The company did not say whether members of Congress who object to the certification of the Electoral College votes would continue to receive AT&T's financial support.
Amazon: $598,000 to 104 Republicans who are trying to subvert democracy
A Popular Information analysis found that, over the last six years, Amazon has donated at least $598,000 to 104 Republicans who are seeking to ignore the Electoral College and give Trump another term as president.
Amazon has donated to seven of the 13 Senators who have pledged to object to the certification of the election results. Over the last six years, the company has donated $21,500 to those seven Senators.
Amazon has also donated to dozens of House members supporting the effort, including $2500 to Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who has parroted Trump's wildest conspiracy theories.
Popular Information asked Amazon if it would continue financially supporting members of Congress who are voting to set aside millions of votes. The company did not respond. But Amazon is also a member of the Business Roundtable, which issued the statement opposing "efforts to delay or overturn the clear outcome of the election." The company also signed a letter urging the President-elect Biden, and the new Congress, to take aggressive action on climate change.
Microsoft: $504,750 to 83 Republicans who are trying to subvert democracy
Over the last six years, Microsoft has donated at least $504,750 to 83 Republicans who are planning to ignore Biden’s Electoral College win, according to Popular Information’s analysis.
Microsoft acknowledged Biden's victory shortly after Election Day. On November 7, Microsoft President Brad Smith offered his "congratulations to the new President- and Vice-President-Elect: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris." On January 4, Smith, along with other business leaders, called objections to the certified vote results "counter to the essential tenets of our democracy."
Popular Information asked Microsoft if it would continue financially supporting members of Congress who are voting to set aside millions of votes. "We weigh a number of factors in making political contribution decisions, and will consider this and other issues in making future contribution decisions," a Microsoft spokesperson said.
Other major companies supporting Republican members of Congress who are trying to subvert democracy
Popular Information looked at a total of twenty major corporations which have donated to the Republicans who are planning to reject the certified results. This chart summarizes our findings:
In response to a request for comment, a Pfizer spokesperson noted that the company's CEO, Albert Bourla, signed a letter saying there should be no further delay in the transfer of power.
Asked whether Bourla's position would impact Pfizer's future political giving, the spokesperson offered the following statement.
Pfizer supports candidates and elected officials from both sides of the aisle who deal with decisions important to our industry. Our political contributions are led by two guiding principles - preserve and further the incentives for innovation, and protect and expand access to medicines and vaccines for the patients we serve.
Pfizer donated at least $610,000 to 74 Republicans.
A spokesperson for Boston Scientific offered this statement:
At Boston Scientific, our focus is on increasing access to life-saving and life-changing innovations for patients with critical needs. Along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and others, we call for elected officials to respect the democratic process and the election outcome. We will continue to evaluate future PAC contributions based on our values and a focus on improving patient care.
Boston Scientific donated at least $273,500 to 54 Republicans.
Wells Fargo declined to comment — it donated $321,800 to 58 Republicans. The remaining companies did not respond to a request for comment.
I'm pretty sure that almost all corporations donate money to candidates in both parties and generally ignore politicians' stances on issues having nothing to do with them. I don't think that's okay, just that's what I think happens, especially given the response you got from Pfizer. Corporations should not be allowed to give money to political campaigns. They aren't citizens and shouldn't be allowed to influence elections. If they want influence they can always plead their case to their employees.
This corporate influence with big money is why I am an advocate with the citizen led American Promise to advance a constitutional amendment to limit money in politics that has exploded since Citizens United. 21 states have called for such an amendment (latest is Alaska on Nov 3!) Polls show 75% of Americans across the political spectrum support an amendment and the 1st bipartisan resolution in the House was House Joint Res 2 in the 116th Congress which did get 1 hearing before shutdown in March. Join the effort to fix this. The