UPDATE: Toyota reverses course, says it will stop donating to Republican objectors
On April 17, Popular Information reported that Toyota was the top corporate contributor to Republican members of Congress who voted to overturn the election. The company's corporate PAC donated $62,000 to 39 members of Congress who refused to certify the results of the Electoral College. After months of public scrutiny, Toyota announced on Thursday afternoon that it would "stop contributing to those members of Congress who contested the certification of certain states in the 2020 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. The reversal came the same day The Lincoln Project released an ad that harshly criticized Toyota's contributions to Biggs and other Republican objectors.
Toyota initially justified its PAC contributions with messaging developed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In an April statement obtained by Popular Information, Toyota said it did "not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on election certification." The language was taken, word-for-word, from a March memo released by the U.S. Chamber.
Toyota has a $240,000 annual lobbying contract with Kyle Simmons, the former Chief of Staff of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). McConnell is closely aligned with the U.S. Chamber.
Toyota's decision demonstrates the continued political resonance of January 6. This will likely disappoint powerful corporate lobbyists who were pushing to quickly resume business as usual.
Internal communications obtained by Popular Information revealed that the National Association of Business PACs (NABPAC), the trade association for corporate PACs, was encouraging companies to "move beyond" January 6 and resume their political contributions. In a March 2 video seminar, Republican operative Michael DuHaime advised representatives from corporate PACs that resuming contributions to Republican objectors "most likely… would be a one day story and most likely you are not going to lose customer share over it."
Toyota had a different experience.