January 5 will be a monumental day in American politics. The result of the Georgia Senate run-off will determine which party controls the Senate for the next two years. If either Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) or Senator David Perdue (R-GA) wins, the Republicans will retain control. If both Democratic challengers, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, prevail, the Democrats will be in charge.
If either Loeffler or Perdue wins, it will give Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) the power to block Biden's legislative agenda. That would mean no meaningful action on climate change, no public option for Obamacare, no restoration of the Voting Rights Act, no tax increases for the rich, no gun safety legislation, and no statehood for Washington, DC. McConnell would likely agree to some sort of economic stimulus related to the pandemic, but it would be much smaller than what would be possible with a Democratic Senate.
McConnell, if he was able to keep his caucus unified, could block any cabinet member or judge nominated by Biden. Alternatively, McConnell could just refuse to bring a particular nominee up for a vote.
With so much at stake, which corporations donated to Perdue and Loeffler after November 3, when it became clear the run-off would determine control of the Senate? (Ossoff and Warnock are not accepting corporate PAC money.) It's a more difficult question to answer than it should be. Most campaign committees had to report their post-election receipts (up until November 23) on December 3. But due to a quirk in campaign finance law, the campaigns of Perdue and Loeffler do not have to reveal their recent donors until December 24.
But where there's a will, there's a way. Although Perdue and Loeffler haven't reported any donors since November 2, individual corporate PACs were required to report on December 3. Popular Information reviewed hundreds of those filings and pieced together a picture of Perdue and Loeffler's corporate backers between November 3 and November 23.
The maximum donation from a corporate PAC to a runoff candidate is $5,000.
*Lockheed Martin donated to Loeffler's leadership PAC, Growing Georgia.
^Anheuser Busch donated $5,000 to Perdue's run-off account and $5,000 to Perdue's recount account. (There has been no recount of the Senate race.)
Ignore their words, follow the money
In many cases, the recent donations to Perdue and Loeffler conflict with the corporation's publicly stated values.
Visa issued a press release last year, "calling on Congress and the administration to come together to enact practical, common sense measures to help end the epidemic of mass murders in America." Specifically, the company said it supported "federal level ‘red flag’ laws to remove guns from potentially dangerous people and a mandated expansion of background checks." But the company donated $5,000 on November 19 to Perdue, who has votedthreetimes against expanding background checks to cover more gun purchases. McConnell, who would set the Senate agenda if Perdue wins, has obstructed bipartisan efforts to reduce gun violence, including proposals to expand background checks.
Verizon has positioned itself as a champion of voting rights. The company published a piece on its corporate website in July 2020, celebrating the 55th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. It quotes Congressman John Lewis, who had died a week earlier, on the importance of protecting the right to vote. Lewis was nearly beaten to death marching for voting rights in Alabama in 1965. His death, Verizon said, was "a reminder that we have more to accomplish when it comes to equality." Before his death, Lewis' top priority was the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. McConnell believes that Black voters no longer face obstacles to casting ballots and refused to consider Lewis' legislation. On November 12, Verizon donated $5,000 to Perdue. A Perdue victory would keep McConnell in charge and virtually assure that the Voting Rights Act would not be reauthorized for the next two years.
Ford has touted its commitment to clean energy. The company has pledged to "to use 100-percent locally sourced renewable energy for all its manufacturing plants globally by 2035." Of course, meeting that pledge will require more renewable energy capacity to come online. The company donated $5,000 on November 10 to Loeffler, who has positioned herself "as an ardent supporter of President Trump and his pro-fossil fuel agenda." Ford also donated $1,000 on November 17 to Perdue, who has votedrepeatedly against tax breaks and funding to promote renewable energy. A Loeffler or Perdue victory would allow McConnell, an ardent supporter of coal and other fossil fuels, to maintain control of the Senate.
On Anheuser Busch's corporate website, the company says that "we pride ourselves on our close relationship with our consumers, and we know they care about climate change." Anheuser Busch brags that it is taking a "taking a leading role" on the issue. But the company donated $10,000 to Perdue on November 19. Perdue denies basic climate science. More significantly, his election would keep McConnell in charge of the Senate, effectively foreclosing any meaningful legislative climate action for at least two years.
Following the police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, Cox Enterprises issued a statement stating that “equal rights are the foundation of a free and just society” and boasted that the company “has a long history of supporting...the African-American community.” The company went on to donate to organizations that support social justice, including the Equal Justice Initiative and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center, stating that “discrimination has no home in our hearts or our company.” Yet, last month, the company donated $5,000 to Perdue, who received an “F” rating from the NAACP for failing to uphold civil rights. In October, Perdue was condemned for employing a racist trope by purposely mispronouncing vice president-elect Kamala Harris’ name. With McConnell also scoring an “F” on the NAACP’s Report Card, a Perdue victory would jeopardize any progress towards racial and criminal justice.
What corporations support when they support Loeffler and Perdue
On Wednesday, Loeffler and Perdue endorsed a lawsuit filed by the State of Texas in the United States Supreme Court, which seeks to overturn the results of the 2020 election by throwing out the votes in four states — including Georgia.
Steve Vladeck, professor at the University of Texas School of Law, said the suit was an embarrassment:
It is lacking in actual evidence; it is deeply cynical; it evinces stunning disrespect for both the role of the courts in our constitutional system and of the states in our elections; and it is doomed to fail.
The Supreme Court does have original jurisdiction for cases involving disputes between states. But in this case, there really is no interstate dispute. Texas is seeking to relitigate claims that have been raised by private parties, including the Trump campaign, and rejected by state and federal courts.
But Loeffler and Perdue are eager to embrace Trump in any way they can. And this lawsuit, which seeks to undermine the foundation of electoral democracy, is just another opportunity. Earlier, they both called on Georgia's Republican Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, to resign, citing unspecified "failures."
Loeffler and Perdue are participating in Trump's effort to convince the public, without a shred of evidence, that the 2020 election was "rigged." Corporations that are supporting Loeffler and Perdue are helping legitimize that position.
Still more corporate hypocrisy. They issue nicely-worded statements theoretically espousing inclusion and diversity, but with their pocketbooks they support the exact opposite values.
Disgusting. Playing both sides of sentiment verses true colors. Nothing so needs reform as corporate campaign donations and PACs.
Send your donations to Warnock and Ossof today via Act Blue.