Toyota's second U-turn
Shortly after January 6, 2021, Toyota announced that it would reassess "our future PAC criteria" in light of "the horrific attack on the U.S. Capitol." That review did not last long. Within weeks, Toyota resumed donating to Republican members of Congress that voted to overturn the election.
Among the recipients of Toyota's cash was Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ), who tweeted on January 6 that he would "lead the charge" and "fight" to overturn the election results. He also promised to "produce documents" during the debate with evidence of "fraud." (No such documents exist.)
By April 1, 2021, Toyota had donated $62,000 to 39 Republican objectors. Popular Information reported that, at the time, Toyota was the top corporate PAC donor to members of Congress who tried to reverse the election results.
In an email to customers that month, the company said that it had undertaken a "thorough review" and "decided against giving to some members who, through their statements and actions, undermine the legitimacy of our elections and institutions." But if a Congressman like Biggs met Toyota's criteria, it is unclear what conduct would be considered disqualifying.
In the email, Toyota also said it does "not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on election certification." This language was taken word-for-word from a memo issued by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in March.
But on July 8, facing intense public scrutiny and a possible television ad attacking its conduct, Toyota reversed course. In a press release, Toyota announced it would stop donating to Republican objectors:
We understand that the PAC decision to support select Members of Congress who contested the results troubled some stakeholders. We are actively listening to our stakeholders and, at this time, we have decided to stop contributing to those Members of Congress who contested the certification of certain states in the 2020 election.
The press release had the desired effect. Major publications, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and many others reported that Toyota would no longer donate to the 147 Republicans who objected to the certification of the Electoral College.
Toyota, however, seems to have been just buying time. Last month, the company resumed donations to Republican objectors. There was no press release. And none of the publications that covered Toyota's July 2021 press release have reported that Toyota has reversed course.
Among the recipients of Toyota's cash last month was Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-IN). Walorski not only voted to overturn the election results on January 6, 2021, but she also signed a December 2021 amicus brief supporting a case in the Supreme Court to throw out millions of votes. Since January 6, 2021, Walorski voted against impeaching Trump for his conduct on January 6, voted against the creation of a bipartisan January 6 committee, and voted against holding Steven Bannon in contempt for ignoring a subpoena from the January 6 committee.
Another Republican objector who received cash from Toyota last month was Congressman David Kustoff (R-TN). On January 6, 2021, Kustoff stated that "[n]umerous sworn affidavits with election irregularities remain unsolved, including reports of voter fraud, violation of election laws, and the casting of illegal ballots." This was false. Affidavits alleging voter fraud were submitted to numerous courts and were consistently rejected as unsubstantiated or irrelevant. Since January 6, 2021, Kustoff has had the same voting record on these issues as Walorski.
Two other Republican objectors — Congressmen Trent Kelly (R-MS) and Garret Graves (R-LA) — also received money from Toyota's PAC in March 2022.
In a statement to Popular Information, Toyota acknowledged that it has resumed donating to Republican objectors “[a]fter a pause of six months, during which time Toyota had extensive discussions with internal and external stakeholders.” Toyota said it “will not support those who, by their words and actions, create an atmosphere that incites violence.”
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Other notable developments
April campaign finance filings revealed several other companies who have abandoned the positions they took after January 6:
After January 6, 2021, Intel announced it would "not contribute to members of Congress who voted against certification of the Electoral College results as we feel that action was counter to our company's values." In March 2022, Intel donated $15,500 to 6 members of Congress who voted against certification of the Electoral College results.
On January 10, 2021, Citi announced it would pause all political donations and "not support candidates who do not respect the rule of law." In March 2022, Citi donated $12,500 to 4 members of Congress who voted to overturn the election results.
After January 6, 2021, the General Electric (GE) PAC "voted to suspend donations to those who voted to oppose the Electoral College results." According to CNN and Reuters, GE pledged to maintain the suspension through the 2022 election. But on March 30, 2022, the GE PAC donated $1,000 to Congressman Tom Rice (R-SC), who voted against certifying the Electoral College results.
Amazon said it was cutting off support to members of Congress who tried to overturn the election. "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," the company said in a statement shortly after January 6, 2021. But in March 2022, Amazon donated $30,000 each to the NRCC and NRSC. Collectively those two committees will support the reelection of every Republican objector running for reelection.
You can find the status of every corporation's pledge — including dozens that have maintained their commitments — in Popular Information's January 6 Corporate Accountability Index.
It’s like a full-time job for you to constantly monitor the actions of these corporations. With great fanfare they announce they don’t support those who act to overthrow our elected congressmen/congresswomen, then in a few weeks or months when the furor has died down & they think it has been forgotten, they start contributing again. Like so much these days, it’s all about power & money, not what’s good for the voters. I think we need limits on contributions, and full disclosure of who is contributing those funds. If wishes were horses….
Thank you for continuing to disclose the hypocrisy & hold these companies accountable.
What’s the value of a “pause” that doesn’t even last an election cycle? Zero.