These companies can't quit Mo Brooks

There were 147 Republicans who voted to overturn the election on January 6. But Mo Brooks is in a category of his own.

The Alabama Congressman, who has launched a campaign for U.S. Senate, spoke at the "Stop the Steal" rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol. Brooks insisted the election was stolen from Trump and encouraged the crowd to "start taking down names and kicking ass!"

Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass! Now, our ancestors sacrificed their blood, their sweat, their tears, their fortunes, and sometimes their lives, to give us, their descendants, an America that is the greatest nation in world history. So I have a question for you: Are you willing to do the same? My answer is yes. Louder! Are you willing to do what it takes to fight for America? Louder!! Will you fight for America?!

Ali Alexander, the right-wing operative who played a key role in the "Stop the Steal" movement, said he "schemed up" with Brooks and two other members of Congress to build a mob outside of the Capitol while the Electoral College certification votes were taking place. Alexander said that the idea was to "change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body, hearing our loud roar from outside." Later, Brooks, through a spokesperson, said he had "no recollection of speaking with Alexander. 

In the days that followed the attack on the Capitol, Brooks was remorseless. He described any criticism of his actions as a smear campaign coordinated by Socialists. At the conclusion of a long, rambling statement issued on January 12, Brooks said his remarks on January 6 were "not wrong" and that "Socialist Democrats" and the "Fake News Media" should apologize to him. 

Socialist Democrats and their Fake News Media Allies won’t get an apology from me because my remarks were not wrong.  Conversely, the Socialist Democrats and their Fake News Media Allies should be apologizing to the public for the egregiously [sic] and manipulative way they have deceived the public on this issue.

Rest assured; I will never apologize for fighting to win our causes at the ballot box.  That is the American way!

Brooks sits on both the House Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. During his tenure in Congress, Brooks has attracted support from the corporate PACs of major aerospace companies and defense contractors — including Northrop Grumman (49K), Boeing (40.5K), Lockheed Martin (51K), and Raytheon (42.5K). Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman are Brooks' top two all-time corporate donors. All four companies also have a significant footprint in Brooks' Alabama district. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a civil rights organization based in Alabama, is calling on the four companies to cut off support for Brooks. SPLC sent letters to the CEOs of Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon on June 10, asking them to "immediately sever ties with Rep. Brooks and pledge to never again provide him with any future direct or indirect financial, material and/or moral support." 

After short pause, defense contractors resume donations to Republican objectors

After January 6, all four companies announced they would indefinitely suspend all corporate PAC donations. In the months that followed, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing resumed their political donations. In May, Northrop Grumman donated $16,500 to six members of Congress that voted to overturn the election. Boeing donated $17,500 to Republican objectors last month, including $5,000 each to Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA). In April, Lockheed Martin donated $10,000 to ten members of Congress who objected to the certification of the Electoral College. 

The four companies have not donated to Brooks yet this year. But SPLC is asking for public assurances that they won't donate to Brooks in the future. 

Inside the SPLC strategy

SPLC President and CEO Margaret Huang told Popular Information in an interview that none of the companies have responded to the letter. Huang said that, beyond financial support, the companies legitimize Brooks by including him in ribbon cuttings and other photo ops. She hoped her organization's campaign would attract the attention of employees and motivate them to "start asking questions internally" about corporate support for Brooks. 

Huang noted that, in addition to his actions on January 6, Brooks was one of just 14 members of Congress to recently vote against establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday. That vote, Huang argued — along with Brooks' history of inflammatory and xenophobic comments — was inconsistent with the stated values of Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon.

Northrop Grumman CEO Kathy Warden, for example, recently stressed her company's commitment to "diversity, equity and inclusion."

Brooks claimed he voted against establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday because he was concerned about the financial cost. "A spokesman for Brooks did not respond to questions asking if the congressman had similar concerns about the cost to state taxpayers for the multiple Confederacy-related holidays in Alabama," the News Courier, an Alabama publication, reported. Alabama "is the last state to have a legal holiday set aside solely to commemorate the birth of Confederate President Jefferson Davis." 

SPLC projects, Brooks responds

Huang, however, is not waiting by the mailbox. On Monday night, SPLC projected some of Brooks' most controversial moments onto the side of Northrop Grumman's Alabama headquarters. The gambit attracted the attention of local media. 

On Tuesday, SPLC held a press conference in Los Angeles, where the four companies also have a corporate presence, formally announcing its efforts. 

Brooks has responded. "It is an honor having the racist, radical left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center opposing Mo Brooks’ U.S. Senate campaign. The SPLC’s continued attacks on Mo Brooks are proof that, if you believe in making America great, then Mo Brooks is your choice for U.S. Senate!” Brooks told WAFF