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UPDATE: Facing boycott calls, Pepsi defends donation to Texas Republican Party
On Monday, Popular Information published a report on corporations that donated to the Republicans who imposed a draconian abortion ban in Texas.
The report detailed contributions to Texas Republicans from a variety of major corporations, including AT&T, Walmart, and Ford. But what caught the attention of social media users was the $15,000 contribution from PepsiCo to the Texas Republican Party.
The contribution was first disclosed in a filing by the Texas Republican Party last week. The party reported receiving the contribution on August 5, 2021.
For several hours on Monday night, #boycottpepsi was the #1 trending topic on Twitter in the United States.
The online controversy was also covered by numerous television affiliates in Texas.
Popular Information contacted PepsiCo before publication last week and received no response. But, after the story went viral online Tuesday morning, the company contacted Popular Information and claimed that the check to the Texas Republican Party had actually been issued in the summer of 2020:
During presidential election years, PepsiCo has typically made donations supporting both the Democratic and Republican conventions in several states. In the summer of 2020, we donated to both the Democratic and Republican parties in Texas to support those state conventions. The check to the Republican party was not processed until August 2021. As a result, the donation was recorded then and disclosed in a recent filing.
The problem with this explanation, however, is that corporate checks generally expire within 180 days. PepsiCo told Popular Information that it had reissued the check to the Texas Republican Party sometime in 2021, but declined to specify the date. So PepsiCo is trying to leave the impression that the check was issued prior to the passage of the state's abortion ban, while declining to actually specify the date the check was issued.
Further, at any time before August 5, 2021, PepsiCo could have canceled the check to the Texas Republican Party. It chose not to.
Since PepsiCo placed an emphasis on the timing of the donation, Popular Information asked whether the company would donate to the Texas Republican Party in the future. The company declined to comment.
One thing is for certain, however. The next time PepsiCo makes a political donation it will know that Popular Information — and the world — is watching.
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