Amazon puts January 6 in the rearview mirror: "It's been more than 21 months"
After January 6, 2021, Amazon released a strongly worded statement announcing it would stop contributing to members of Congress that voted to overturn the election. It said those members were part of an "unacceptable attempt to undermine a legitimate democratic process." Here is the full statement, which was released on January 11, 2021:
Given the unacceptable attempt to undermine a legitimate democratic process, the Amazon PAC has suspended contributions to any Member of Congress who voted to override the results of the US Presidential election. We intend to discuss our concerns directly with those Members we have previously supported and will evaluate their responses as we consider future PAC contributions.
In September 2022, however, the Amazon PAC donated $17,500 to nine members of the House of Representatives whose conduct Amazon previously deemed "unacceptable." Amazon donated to August Pfluger (R-TX), Stephanie Bice (R-OK), Tom Cole (R-OK), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Garret Graves (R-LA), Sam Graves (R-MO), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Mike Rogers (R-AL), and Rob Wittman (R-VA).
Amazon had pledged to "discuss our concerns directly" with members who voted to overturn the election who it previously supported, and "evaluate their responses" before donating again. But it's hard to believe that those conversations ever occurred. None of the nine members who received donations from Amazon last month has expressed any regret for their vote on January 6.
In the leadup to January 6, 2021, for example, Pfluger claimed Speaker Nancy Pelosi was "desperate to steal more" votes, and said that Trump was right to question the integrity of the election. On December 16, 2021, Pfluger signed a letter urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi to “promptly act to support the integrity of our election processes,” even though the integrity of the election was not in question.
After January 6, 2021, Pfluger voted against impeaching Trump for inciting an insurrection, against the creation of a bipartisan committee to investigate January 6, and against holding Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for ignoring a subpoena from the committee.
Amazon sent the following statement in response to a request for comment:
The Amazon Political Action Committee has long given to members of Congress who share our views on issues that are important to our customers and our business in general. When we announced shortly after the attack on the Capitol in January 2021 that we would suspend donations to members of Congress who voted against certifying the results of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, it was not intended to be permanent. It’s been more than 21 months since that suspension and, like a number of companies, we’ve resumed giving to some members.
Notably, Amazon did not say whether it expressed any "concerns" to the nine Republican objectors before resuming donations in September. Instead, Amazon emphasized the passage of time to justify its actions.
Ending the suspension of donations after 21 months is a convenient decision for Amazon. A Congressional campaign cycle is 24 months. And the need for cash increases as election day approaches. Resuming donations to candidates that voted to overturn the election about six weeks before election day means there was no practical impact to Amazon's suspension.
Amazon is correct that a number of other companies have also resumed donating to Republican objectors. But dozens of companies have maintained their pledges. We've kept track here: